10 May - Good news

Another appointment with the oncologist at Carlisle Infirmary to check on my progress and find out the results of my last MRI scan. The good news is that the tumour hasn't grown. The bad news is that it hasn't shrunk, either. The scan showed no change over the one made on 5 January. I had really been hoping for something a bit more positive to show for the weeks of tiredness caused by the chemotherapy, something extra to show some gain from our decision to take clomipramine in addition to the "standard" treatment. So to tell the truth I was a little disappointed. It seems the surgery and radiotherapy did most of the work in reducing the tumour from the size it was originally.

My next appointment with the consultant will be in three months' time but I won't have another MRI scan for six months unless I experience brain tumour symptoms in the meantime. We were a bit disappointed about that, too, as it smacks of a decision made on budgetary rather than clinical grounds. I've read quite a lot about these glioblastoma multiforme tumours. They can lie dormant for weeks, months or even years and then suddenly begin growing aggressively. I'd rather someone kept an eye on it a bit more frequently. I don't know if it is possible to find somewhere I could have an MRI scan privately. Olga finds our NHS rather "hands-off" compared to hospitals in the former Soviet Union.

The consultant, Olga and I discussed the issues I have had since the completion of treatment and I came away with some diuretic tablets to stop the water retention that may be accounting for a lot of my recent weight gain. Most people put on weight when they start taking the steroids; perversely I have really only started piling on the pounds after we began reducing the dosage.

We are also going to make another attempt to stop the steroids entirely: So far we have got down to 0.5mg or a quarter of a tablet which is about the size of a breadcrumb, but the last time we tried to stop completely I got a mild headache. Let's hope this time we are more successful.