A phone call yesterday bump starts me out of my holding pattern. ‘Professor Thomas has reviewed your scans and says there are no surprises, but can you come and see him tomorrow morning?’
I can’t help but wonder why (that sick feeling again, I said it would be the first of many last time); my instinct tells me there is a need for further discussion. The rest of the day passes in a blur of friends, a haze of chocolates, flowers and gifts, not to mention several glasses of fizz.
This morning Ross arrives at 6am, from Singapore, and we go together to the appointment.
My sixth sense is right: there is a discussion. The lovely oncologist Dr Miah and the Prof are now recommending that we consider 6 weeks of radiotherapy, followed by 6 weeks recovery, then the surgery to remove the tumour.
On cross-examination it appears the only benefit of this approach is that my leg will receive less radiation and to a smaller area. If I have the op first, they will have to irradiate the whole area around the incision, probably the length of my calf. (The diagram here shows the soleus and the gastrocnemius muscles.)
The purpose is not therefore to shrink the tumour to make it easier to operate: the Prof says it makes little difference to his surgery; and indeed there is no guarantee that radiotherapy works on my kind of tumour.
For me it’s a no brainer: I really don’t think I can take this pain for another three months, nor live with the anxiety of hosting my tumour, which might spread in the interim, especially if the radiotherapy doesn’t work. I also need to capitalise on my current levels of positivity, which might get worn down with such a distant objective. My recovery will, in the end, all be down to this.
The Prof understands my thinking completely, as does Dr Miah. The pain factor cannot be underestimated. It’s a deal! And of course, it may just mean I can escape to Switzerland for Christmas and New Year, although skiing is along way off (even walking is going to be difficult for a long time). It’s about things to look forward to….
Also my other surgeon, Prof Khong, who has been in touch, favours immediate surgery. I am still revelling the comparison to Helen Mirren – what do you think? Perhaps it’s more about indomitable spirit rather than physical resemblance. Don’t forget she was in her 40s in this photo and I am now 56! Mind you I think I look pretty grim!
Carpe diem does mean seize the day after all, so that day is now Friday, and after that the only way is up…
LOOKALIKE (apologies to Private Eye)
Administrative notes: I will be in the Royal LISTER Hopsital on Chelsea bridge Road at least until Monday; please don’t just pop in unannounced but contact Ross on 07831361190 as he will be my gatekeeper