Monday, 10 January 2011

The joys of gas and air

This morning Ray and I went to Southampton General.  I was due to have a bone marrow aspiration at 11.00 a.m. but true to form they had mixed up the appointments and told us to go and have a coffee.  I had the most peculiar Eccles cake imaginable.  A true Eccles cake should have light, crisp flaky pastry with a filling of dried fruit.  This one was stodgy and the filling tasted too spicy.  After that pleasurable start we returned for the procedure.

The nurse who carried out the bone marrow removal was both kind and competent.  As it is quite painful and uncomfortable I asked for gas and air which was already in the room.  Apparently they used to give general anaesthetics but some time ago discovered it was “better” done using local anaesthetic injections.  First of all the liquid bone marrow is withdrawn from the pelvis.  The next stage goes deeper into the bone to extract a core.

This was my fifth or sixth and I have to say it was the least painful of them all.  I wasn’t offered gas and air at the Royal Marsden which is why the patients dread it, but we are all different so for some people it may be less painful than for others.  Ray has been teasing me about the effects of gas and air.  Certainly it makes you feel a little light-headed.  The results should tell my oncologist just how far the lymphoma has spread.

I think it has spread to my stomach area as I have the bloating which I had when I was first diagnosed.  This would mean it has crossed the barrier of the diaphragm.  Tomorrow I have the CT scan at the Nuffield which will indicate the spread and location of the disease.

When we came home we were both tired.  Ray didn’t sleep well last night but it is more than that.  I think there is an emotional toll not only about the procedure, but actually having to go to the hospital.  Around us some of the nurses or visitors are light-hearted but we can’t really be, at least not for very long.

As I write this it is just after 4.00 p.m. and it is pleasing to see that the days are just slightly drawing out.  The day itself was cold but sunny as was yesterday.  It is good to see the trees looking less sombre.  I am just about to start taking the tablets which are the precursors to my chemotherapy so it is all becoming very real.  We have to hope for a good outcome.

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