The date for my bone scan came through before the Disodium Pamidronate infusion. Seems my oncologist did finally order one and, again, it came through quickly. The bone scan is the fun one where they inject me with a very small amount of a radioactive drug, wait for 3 hours, then scan to see if the cancer has spread within the bones and also to any organs. Hopefully I’ll get the results at my next consultation.
Before each of these procedures I’m giving blood to be analysed and checked for any abnormalities. We’ve seen how many have shown up already over the last few weeks; this time my bloods showed that my haemoglobin level was too low.
Here we go again, yet another blood transfusion and another 5 hours sitting in the chemo chair at my local oncology centre in order to increase my energy levels. However, I’m grateful that my bloods are now being scrutinised closely and between me and my family we’ve managed to push my oncologist into a greater sense of urgency. He himself is more pro-active, analyses seem quicker, appointments are sooner, varied treatments are provided as soon as possible and I now feel like everyone else has the same view as me – that I’ll keep fighting for as long as it takes.
“Then what happened?” (5)
It was time to say goodbye to the tooth, ‘extraction day’. In the event it was straightforward: an injection, a countdown while my lips went all ‘wubberwy’, a strong tug and there it was …..gone.
Away from teeth, my latest bloods revealed some good news and some not so good news. The good news was that my PSA had reduced to 186 (hurrah), the not so good news was that my calcium level was way too high and needed attention (oops). No-one had seemed to pay any attention to my calcium level up to this point but now it was deemed important and needed urgent attention.
An appointment was quickly found for me only three days ahead. The treatment involved an infusion of Disodium Pomidronate (no, me neither). This meant me lying in the chemo chair for 4 hours being pumped full of this stuff. As with all my treatments, there were potential side effects. I must admit that usually I ignored reading them as they all say I’ll feel tired and nauseous. This time I should have taken notice as, over the following week-end, my hands went into spasms, I kept falling off to sleep with no notice and talking jibberish (“sorry, I hadn’t noticed”). It finally took me breaking a glass on the floor before I gave in and went to bed.
“Then what happened?” (4)
Eventually I was discharged, with ‘Delilah’ still ringing in my ears. As always seems to be the case, I’m up early to escape as soon as possible, with Anne and Victoria ensuring the getaway car is ready outside but it’s hours before I’m released. The issue is always to do with my pills, with the pharmacy ensuring I don’t run off with a stash of pills I’m not entitled to.
Back at home a rest would have been nice because no-one goes to hospital for a rest. However, the next day I was back at my GP’s having my re-scheduled hormone injection before being driven to the dentist to look at the hole in my tooth. “It will have to come out. I can fit you in next week.”
The consultation with my oncologist 2 days later was back to the old routine of me explaining to him what had happened and making sure he followed the ‘suggestions’ of my second opinion hospital to order more scans. I’d had the MRI scan, which led to my radiotherapy treatment. They’d also suggested a bone scan, so I made sure my oncologist had ordered one. Oh, and my PSA had ballooned to 229.
“Then what happened?” (3)
I was admitted to the Gastroenterology ward as you have to go wherever there’s a bed available. No disrespect to the other patients but the place was a bit of a madhouse, typified by the patient next to me who, when he wasn’t singing ‘Delilah’ in his sleep, was clinging onto the window catch to ensure no-one closed it during the night. It didn’t matter that the rest of the patients in the ward spent the whole night freezing.
As I was already there and in clear need, the doctors took the opportunity to give me a blood transfusion. Not sure if this increased my energy levels as I was having to lie on my back for the two weeks but I’m told it brought some colour to my cheeks.
Just to add insult to injury I also lost a filling from my tooth, so I could only chew on one side of my mouth while nursing the hole in my tooth on the other. So mealtimes were fun, with me flat on my back, trying to shovel food into my mouth while keeping it away from the side of my mouth with the missing filling.
“Then what happened?” (2)
The short answer is ‘Yes’. But having to lie on my back for two weeks, only being allowed to get up to go to the toilet (thank goodness for that), and spending my time counting the ceiling tiles was no fun. I was in hospital for radiotherapy on my back. Five sessions, each involving 2 zaps: one at the base of my spine and another further up, as the tumours have worked their way up my back. The sessions should have taken a total of five days in hospital, but what with week-ends and the bank holiday I was in for a fortnight.
It was all a bit of a surprise really, as I was only due to pick up some pills from one hospital but was then told to go to another hospital for an MRI scan. The results were not good, “worst case scenario” (don’t you just love some doctors’ bedside manner?); hurried discussions between radiographers and the plan was laid; 5 sessions of radiotherapy.
“Then what happened?”
A very sincere “thank you” to Charlotte for running/walking the 10k March for Men last Saturday and to everyone who supported her. It shows the power of family, friends and relatives and the difference they can make.
A quiet few weeks?
You may think I’ve just been lying on my back and taking it easy. Partially true but I’ll tell you all about it later. This is just a quickie to let you know that Charlotte is again fundraising to fight Prostate Cancer.
She’s doing the “March for Men” on Saturday 15th June (next Saturday) in London. It’s clearly a personal thing but if you’d like to donate just go to:
http://www.justgiving.com, search for cg2019 and you’ll find Charlotte’s donation page. Absolutely no pressure (really?), just thought you might like to know.
More info about my situation soon (I’ll bet you can’t wait).
Mouracles (pun courtesy of Charlotte) really do happen. Lucas Moura’s hat trick for Spurs knocked Ajax out of the Champions League and propelled Spurs into the final. All his goals were scored in the second half, his third and vital goal being almost the last kick of the game. They said it was impossible – nothing’s impossible when you believe.
…..dem bones, dem dry bones:
“Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone
Your thigh bone connected to your hip bone
Your hip bone connected to your back bone”
I’ll bet you’re singing the song now. Catchy, isn’t it? although it may be lacking in some anatomical detail, particularly in my case (again, I’ve no medical training – so take with a pinch of salt). It seems not all of my bones may be completely connected. Though the new Abiraterone hormone tablets continue to do a great job stimulating my appetite and energy levels, the pain in my left hip and groin area has been getting much worse. My latest CT scan showed that the metastases (tumours) across my pelvis and down my femurs have increased. “It’s very much what we would expect at this stage” (- thanks a lot guys).
Would radiotherapy help? Anything that will help me grab more than a couple of hours sleep every night and stop me having to down liquid morphine like Jagerbombs at an apres-ski party is worth trying. So my oncologist did as he’d agreed at our meeting a while ago and contacted a consultant at the radiology department. A week later I was having yet another scan at the cancer radiotherapy centre, for them to measure and plot precisely where they’re going to zap. Like last time, they’ve decided to hit me with one super-blast as opposed to multiple smaller ones (saves on parking charges). Like last time, they tattooed dots onto my stomach, which now looks like the beginnings of a dot-to-dot picture, or that ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ game I remember as a kid.
So, a message to the Alien Inside, “You’d better get ready ‘cos we’re coming after you.”
<<Yeah, you and whose army?>>
“Me, Anne, Victoria and Charlotte, all our friends and rels, and the whole of the NHS.”
Pain almost gone, appetite returning and I can see my ankles again – something’s definitely working. I’ve been on the Abiraterone tablets for two weeks now and they’re clearly having a positive effect. I also met with the palliative pain management consultant. She saw that I was taking more than 30 tablets a day and has managed to reduce them to about 20, (at least I don’t rattle so much now when I walk). Speaking of which I’ve not been able to go for walks over the last couple of weeks as my ankles and feet ballooned after I had the blood transfusion. Nobody told me the whole two new units of blood would bypass all of my major organs and head straight for my feet. My plates of meat were now so large they wouldn’t fit any of my shoes, in fact they’d have been hard pressed to fit into a yeti’s wellies.
Now they’re almost back to normal. I’ve been out for walks again, just short ones but it’s a step in the right direction (geddit?). I’ve got my follow-up consultation with the specialist cancer centre consultants next week, so I’ll see what they have to say.