5 July - Learning about my treatment

The last few days have been a bit surreal. I'm still feeling weak, tired, a bit unsteady on my feet and have trouble sleeping, but I'm starting to take more interest again in other things, am eating like a horse (and not putting any weight on!) and really feel as if in a couple of weeks I might be back to normal. It's hard to believe what the doctors told me, and I suspect this disbelief has a lot to do with how optimistic I feel at the moment.

This morning we went for the appointment at the Radiotherapy and Oncology Department at Carlisle Infirmary. At least this doctor didn't use words like "incurable" or give me an expiry date, unlike the sadist at Newcastle. Olga was so anxious about what we might learn I was afraid she might pass out before we were called to see the doctor.

In the end we didn't learn much that was new. The doctor told me some technical stuff about the tumour that I didn't understand, except that it was a "Grade 4". I asked if that was good; his reply was on the lines of not from my point of view.

The surgeons at Newcastle had removed as much of it as they could, but they could not be sure to have removed all the fast multiplying cancerous cells. Therefore the doctors are recommending a course of treatment consisting of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This will begin in about four weeks. I don't know the reason for the delay, unless it is to give me more time to build up my strength after the operation. From what I have been told about the side effects and things I will be at increased risk of during treatment I will need to be strong to survive it!

The radiotherapy will last for six weeks and will involve daily (weekday) visits to Carlisle for treatment.

The chemotherapy will start at the same time and will continue for about six months after the end of the radiotherapy, depending of course on how the patient responds to the treatment. The drug they will be using is Temozolomide (Temodal). If the radiotherapy doesn't make me feel ill the drugs will, by the look of it.

For now all I can do is take it easy and build my strength up. The only things I'm not allowed to do is drive a car (which I already knew) or go swimming, which I couldn't anyway. I'm even allowed a glass or two of wine with my dinner if I want to, which is cheering!

I'm not looking forward to the treatment, which seems guaranteed to make me feel like shit, but not having it is not an option. It's my only chance to beat the bugger and I'm going to give it a damn good try if at all possible.

Thanks to all who have written with cards and well wishes.

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