Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Christie

It's seems like ages ago that I was diagnosed with Stomach cancer, but in fact its only been 41 days. In that time we've had some major downs and a few little ups. My prognosis has gone from: cancer! I'm going to die! to: No, hang on, it's operable and relatively easy to beat.

Today I found out that in fact it's going to be a very hard battle. The doctor at the Christie, Dr Mansoor, spelt it out very straight and forthright. He said that surgeons have a way of looking on the bright side of things, and it's his job to set the record straight and lay the cards on the table. I've been dealt a shit hand.
My cancer is a type 3/4. 4 is the worst. It's also in my lymph nodes which makes it even worse. On a scale of survival, I'm at the bottom, something like this:

T1 95% survival
T2 65%
T3 20%
T4 4%
Lymph node spread reduces each of the above by about 20%.

I'm between T3 and T4. As you can imagine, this is a bloody shock. After dropping that little bombshell, Dr Mansoor then told me I'm eligible for a trial of a new cancer drug. He outlined the pros and cons of the trial and that there was no pressure to take part in the trial.
I'm going to take part in it.

So my next year is going something like this.
I'm back at the Christie tomorrow for confirmation of the trial involvement, I've then to have a heart and lung test and also further blood tests to ensure I'm eligible for the trial drug.
The trial drug is to be given alongside my normal regime of chemo and surgery, so that doesn't affect my chemo or surgery, it just adds to it.
I should start on chemo in around 10 days, with the first injection of chemo and the trial drug taking place over an 8 hour period on the first day. I will then take tablets of chemo over the next 3 weeks. As soon as one course of chemo is finished, I'll go back to the Christie and start all over again for 3 weeks, with no break, then once more, totalling 9 weeks of non-stop chemo and trial drugs.
I'll then get a chemo break for around 5 weeks to recover prior to the surgery. Hopefully by this time the cancer will be reduced significantly in size prior to its removal. I'll then have a further 6 - 10 week break while I heal and adapt to having no stomach etc, then start the chemo cycle all over again.
Boy am I looking forward to that fucking journey :(

I drove to the Christie this morning with a little spring in my step and a real sense of being able to beat this shitter. I knew there was going to be hair loss and feeling tired and sick and all that usual cancer bullshit you see and hear about, and I was more than ready to take all that on.
Now though, I feel I've been hit with a bloody great big hammer right across my head. It really has knocked me for six. I know I've got an amazing family behind me, and some cracking mates to help me through this, but at the time of writing, I'm scared shitless.

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