27 April - The doctor calls

Well that wasn't too successful. It seems that going from 1mg of dexamethasone (half a tablet) to nothing was too big a step for my body. I awoke with a mild headache and terrible balance problems. Olga took my blood pressure using our Omron blood pressure monitor and it was quite low, which is unusual for me.

Olga thought we should speak to a doctor but when we phoned the GP surgery we could not get an appointment until next Tuesday. We could go to the surgery at 5.30pm and wait to be seen as an emergency (!). Then I remembered the nurses at the radiotherapy and oncology department in Carlisle had given us a number we could call for advice if needed. Eventually we were phoned back by the consultant who advised us to increase the steroid dose to 0.5mg (a quarter of a tablet). But we were still advised to see a doctor.

About an hour later the phone rang. It was the GP surgery. Carlisle had been on the phone to them and a doctor was going to come out and visit us. Any of my readers familiar with the NHS will know that winning the lottery is easier than getting GPs to make house calls. The doctor's verdict was that the patient was OK but reducing the dosage of steroids can be tricky. We would carry on taking a quarter of a tablet a day and make an appointment at the surgery next week for a blood test.

Because the piece of dexamethasone tablet seemed so small I thought I could still give up the lansoprazole capsules which protect my stomach from the steroid. That was a mistake. I felt that quarter tablet on its entire journey through my system! So it looks like I'll have to carry on taking lansoprazole and dexamethasone for the time being.