Monday, 21 July 2014

'A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing'

Sometimes I look back at what I have written and think: ooops, that was tempting fate! In my last blog I wrote that I wanted to have the answers to my questions so that fate couldn't creep up and goose me. Prophetic (or pathetic!) that's me.

So picking up the sorry tale, we headed back to York Hospital on Friday whilst the intrepid granny was training it up from Warwickshire. I am thinking... I know what I'm having - or more accurately, I know what all the terms are and how long it all takes though I have no idea how ill I am going to be. We meet the oncologist who is a young gun and I have googled him (of course!) and he is well rated and we start on my medical history. Then we go through the conventional treatments whilst he piles up literature on the desk for me and my beloved to read with instructions on the front sheet of how much, how long (53 weeks!!!), side effects and so on. Then with the verbal agility of a car salesman, he moves on to the Big R - the brand new Research programme that is on offer and, lucky me, I meet all the criteria.

This is where everything that I had steeled myself for was completely derailed. Forty five minutes later and an even bigger pile of stuff which is in such small print that an old gimmer like me is going to get eye-strain just reading, and he's done - and gone. We sit in the consulting room with the fabulous Kim (breast cancer nurse) feeling utterly shell-shocked. I had not factored in having to make a choice. I thought: sign here, this is it, do it, man up and if I'm sick and bald, as my number 1 child would say, suck it up.

So back home and I can't even bring myself to look at the pile of papers full of drugs with too many consonants without crying. And, the intrepid granny needs to see me, brave as a lion, as I used to say to my children. Not crumbling like pastry (thanks Ed Sheeran) and in a mess.

The best distraction came in the form of a Friday night trip to Bedale with number 3 child and my (sorry, but I am allowing myself all sorts of liberties at present) junior tennis team who were playing in the final of the Black Sheep League for the fourth consecutive year - this time against a strong team from Northallerton. They did not let me down and that very big trophy is back in my conservatory (might not share it round this year - it's inspirational). Proud doesn't begin to cover it and a celebratory drive-in McDonalds was worth every penny. Thanks Charlie, Evan, Jack and Joe - you're good for my soul.

Still putting off the awful reading of the literature, Saturday was equally distracting though less pleasurable. I had kopped for cricket teas and since number 2 and the intrepid granny were on hand, I had decided not to be a wimp and do it. We made cakes, brownies, quiches, sandwiches and scones whilst the rain hammered down outside. And then the rain stopped. As it turned out, it only stopped for one over (Barr 0-0) and then it started again so we fed 22 miserable but surprisingly hungry men, washed up and went home.

Still putting it off...

Up early on Sunday morning and I had to read the literature. Meanwhile in Majorca, the singing dancing doctors were doing the same. My beloved read it, I read it and we both independently came up with a list of questions for the singing dancing doctors. Then we went to a party and a jolly good one it was too. Much excitement about our good news and my forthcoming role as MOB and it was so lovely to forget all the bad stuff for a while and spend time with wonderful friends. Carpe diem. Oh, and my dinner plate exploded in front of me - literally.

Eventually we had to do the hard stuff which involved nearly an hour on the phone to our wonderful and incredibly supportive doctors who are in the unique position of understanding the science and knowing me really well. We made a decision to let the medical profession practise new drugs on someone else - selfish but that is now my default setting - and hope that after 53 weeks I can be me again.

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