The past two days have been very eventful. The bathroom floor has been finished and we are very pleased with it. On Wednesday morning we went to see Dr M with a heavy heart. He had implied the week before that this would probably be our last visit as the lymphoma was beginning to take over. I told him that I felt ill over the weekend but on Monday and Tuesday I had felt no sickness or cramps. If I had felt ill on the Tuesday and Wednesday rather than the previous weekend I think we would all have assumed that this was the beginning of the end and what ensued would not have happened.
As I was feeling better and my blood counts were slightly improved, Dr M examined me to see if the lymphoma elsewhere was growing at the same rate as my neck. He was pleased to see that it wasn’t and recommended radiotherapy. I pulled a face and said I couldn’t wait weeks for it to be arranged. He said that he had spoken to the department about the previous delay but if I could use my insurance he would try to arrange it for THAT DAY! With a smile on his face he suggested that we leave the room while he had a word with them so we went to speak with his co-ordinator about gaining the necessary approval from BUPA. She has been very good to me, in fact she came to see me when I was on the dreadful ward, and if there is any question of having to persuade the insurers about treatment, she has taken it upon herself.
Then out dashed Dr M wreathed in smiles and introduced us to a radiotherapy doctor (not the same one who delayed the previous treatment). She actually seemed almost excited that she was about to arrange something more out of the ordinary and I think most of them respect Dr M. She told us to go to radiotherapy planning where she would join us. She brought along a radiotherapist I had met before, the sort of person who would have said that it was not possible to arrange for the treatment within three weeks. She carried a tube which was actually the head of the radiotherapy machine they would use and although the end did not cover the whole of the swollen area we could see that most of the central part would be treated.
Normally the patients lie on a bed and the machines move around them. In my case I was in a chair and instead of the treatment lasting one to two minutes, I was there for fifteen, a massive dose. I was warned there would be side effects but at this stage if there is any chance of slowing down the growth I will take it. The sickness began yesterday evening, fortunately after I had been able to spend a lovely day with a friend from student days.
I really was impressed by the leadership and energy of the professionals who dealt with me on Wednesday – not like anything I have seen before. If only more of them could take the NHS by the scruff of the neck and do something with it.