Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Waiting for PET scan results

Yesterday my PET scan signified I have reached an important milestone since the transplant. As I have some big decisions to make about the future, I am revisiting the period after February 2009, when I had started chemotherapy aned my PhD studies. It was so emotionally charged that I was not always able to see the bigger picture.

Towards the end of May 2009, a potential bone marrow donor was found in Germany. I was very nervous that there was only one but excited that there was hope. The previous few months had exhausted me physically because of the accumulated effects of the chemotherapy, and psychologically because of the damage done to my self-esteem about the circumstances of my birth and the way the truth was kept from me. However much I sympathized with my parents' desire for children, the deception hurt as much as the knowledge that my father was not my biological parent.

By the summer I was coming to the end of my first University semester. I was quite pleased that I was picking up modern research methods, largely thanks to Anna, and getting back into academic writing. We were nearing the time for the end of year reports and no advisor had been appointed so the head of department volunteered. As she is very dynamic I was quite pleased as I felt this was needed to steer the research area back on track to how I wanted it. However, this appointment crossed with my supervisor asking someone else to be my advisor so, unfortunately, the head of department would no longer be involved. An advisor can play a key role in the success of a PhD so although I liked the advisor on a personal level I was disturbed that she had little experience in my field of study and I felt she had reservations about this too.

Once again I felt that because I wasn't a young student embarking on an academic career, my needs were not being taken seriously and this caused me much disquiet. If you ask anyone about the success of their PhD studies they will say that their relationship with their supervisor and advisor was crucial. However, by that time we had reached the end of the semester and I was feeling weak with the chemotherapy.

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