30 December - Good news for the New Year

Off to an appointment with the urologist this morning, to hear the result of the CT scan a few weeks ago.This was nothing to do with my brain tumour. One of my scans had showed something suspicious on a kidney, which we were afraid might be cancer. The good news was that whatever it is hasn't changed. so it probably isn't cancerous. As I haven't experienced any kidney-related problems such as blood in my urine my kidneys have been given a clean bill of health and we'll have another look in a year.

While we were there we asked the doctor if we could look at the last MRI brain scan, on which until now we had only had a verbal report.

There was nothing to see. Literally. Where the tumour had originally been there was nothing there. Definitely good news. Perhaps I could grow a few new brain cells there!

If I'm not exactly jumping for joy it's just because I'm still experiencing annoying symptoms like the blind spot in my vision, a hand tremor, the balance problem that is hampering my mobility, poor short term memory and inability to concentrate. But I'm not going to dwell on those for the moment.

So I may not have "beaten the bugger" but I've given it a jolly good thrashing. And It looks as if I'll be around for a couple of years yet. Olga and I will see in the new year with a glass of bubbly this year!

24 December - New treatment for glioblastoma tumours.

One of my followers sent me a link to an article on the BBC website about a new treatment for glioblastoma brain tumours.

It's at the clinical trial stage at the moment  so it is unlikely that I could get this treatment right now. The thing with clinical trials is that to be accepted you usually have to meet a  very specific set of criteria. I've probably disqualified myself by using clomipramine as an anti-cancer treatment. It also helps to live near the place where they are conducting the trials. The other thing - as the article points out - is that half the people on the trial will only receive a placebo. Personally I'd rather receive treatment than take part in a lottery.

But it is an interesting story and certainly something to talk to my oncologist about at my next consultation.

17 December - the best Christmas present

Yesterday we called the hospital to see if we could get the results of my MRI scan. We were told that the scan needed to be discussed with doctors in Newcastle. We thought that probably wouldn't happen until the new year now so we resigned ourselves to having to be patient. But this afternoon I received a call from the consultant oncologist in Carlisle. He informed me that the result was much better. No new growth of the tumour!

As you may guess I am pretty pleased about that. The news is the best Christmas present I could have wished for.

Happy Christmas!

3 December - another physio visit

On Tuesday we were visited by Debbie's physiotherapist colleague, the sporty-looking Jo. I get teased a bit by Olga about having all these fit young women coming to visit me, but I'd really rather not require their attention at all.

Jo prescribed some more exercises which were deceptively easy, but must be achieving something as I'm aching in a few places I wasn't before.

The execises have to be repeated ten times. So what's the problem, you may ask? Can I count up to ten? Can I hell! What have they done to my brain, Ma? I now have the attention span of a gnat and no matter how hard I try to concentrate I find that I get about as far as 3 and have lost count and my mind has wandered on to something else. Because of this sclerosis of the brain I am avoiding technical activities or anything involving the computer. These days I mostly sit listening to music radio for hours on end - something that requires no intellectual effort at all, but which doesn't require any physical activity either.

Jo is coming back next Tuesday to observe how my walking is. She reckons she can improve my balance by setting some exercises that will 'challenge'  it. We'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile we're both waiting anxiously for the results of the MRI scan.

2 December - MRI scan

To Cumberland Infirmary this morning for an MRI scan of my head. According to the radiographer the results will be sent to the doctors who requested the scan in a week or two. So we're faced with a bit of an anxious wait. We actually already have an appointment a couple of days before Christmas. I'd prefer not to wait that long but we're in their hands to a great extent.