Sorry for the delay in posting but on some days I don’t feel I have the energy to do that much. Anyway, I’ll try to bring it all more up-to-date.
Last Wednesday I had my appointment with the Oncology doctor. Matthew came with me, it definitely helps not being on your own. It was strange going into Oncology as it’s the part of the hospital where I worked when I was casualty porter. It looks the same from the outside but inside is all new and shiny (anyway a lot shinier than when I worked there).
In the room with the doctor was one of the lung cancer nurses and a nurse who is carrying out an evaluation of a new cancer drug.
The doctor took me through the in and outs of chemotherapy, that I would start off by having two drugs injected and eight days later I would have one of them again. After that there would be a period of thirteen days to recuperate before going through the cycle again. I think the course is three times through this cycle. Then everything would be evaluated (as it would be throughout the treatment).
I had a few questions:
- How effective is chemotherapy? I didn’t really end up with a clear answer to this. I can see why – cancer comes in different types and attacks different organs and chemotherapy doesn’t work with everyone.
- What’s the prognosis for what I have? Without chemo I would probably not last longer than a number of months and possibly a year or so. With chemo (if it works) I could get another four or five years. That was a bit of a surprise but not totally unexpected.
- What are the negatives around chemo? It doesn’t work on everybody. People react differently, some have no problem with it while others get very sick. Also as it is attacking the cancer cells it also attacks the good cells, resulting in a lowering of resistance to any illnesses which are around.
At the time I sort of thought, “What choice do I have”, so I said I would go ahead with it. A date was set, which is tomorrow, 24th August. After a few more tests – blood, height weight etc. Matthew ran me home. I wasn’t keen on telling the family but, when I told Denise, she wasn’t very surprised. Matthew seemed to take it well but Anna was upset at the news.
Later in the day Denise spoke to one of the lung cancer nurses. My breathing wasn’t so hot at the time (it comes and goes) and I was also coughing quite a bit. So Denise asked her if there was anything that might help. She said that, for the cough, it would just be cough medicine as there wasn’t anything in particular that they would be able to give me. But, for the breathlessness a medicine called Oramorph could help.
Denise rang the GP surgery (see how I’m getting out of doing things), and later in the day Sam went and picked up the prescription from the pharmacy. Looking at the bottle when he came home I realised that what I had been prescribed was Morphine.
It’s quite difficult in my position as I am a recovering alcoholic and addict though I’ve never tried heroin or morphine (basically the same drug except that heroin is more potent weight for weight). But I know I’m going to need some kind of pain relief as things move on so, all-in-all, I’ll do what they tell me and take what they give me to take. I know this will be frowned upon by some twelve steppers but I don’t intend to be a martyr for anyone.
But, overall, I am feeling positive about things; not that I’m likely to buck the system but rather that we will deal with what comes along as it comes along and try to make the most of whatever time we have.
Until my next post, which I will try to get out a bit more speedily than this one, thanks for reading this.