22 April - A slight decrease

Today we went for a consultation with the oncologist - the one I should have had a month ago. After the usual enquiries as to how I was he told us that the last scan showed 'a slight decrease' in the size of what's left of my tumour. This is obviously better than an increase, so it appears we have it under control for the moment.

Because of the type of tumour that it is, it can never all be removed - I can never be cured. When asked whether it could grow back we were told it could, but it is not possible to predict what would happen. The longest anyone has survived a glioblastoma multiforme grade 4 in our oncologist's direct experience is 8 years. It goes without saying that I hope I can beat that.

The doctor thinks I can apply to the DVLA to have my driving licence back. I'm not celebrating until I'm holding it in my sticky mitt.

Our next appointment is for three months' time after which I will have another MRI scan.

12 April - Decisions, decisions

Today we had an appointment to see the surgeon about my gall bladder operation. Actually, we saw his assistant. We arrived half an hour early for the appointment but ended up being late as the disinterested receptionist didn't bother to tell us where to wait. We waited in the hospital reception area which I thought was a bit odd. It turned out to be the wrong place.

Eventually a nurse found us. We saw the surgeon's assistant who told us that the MRI scan showed no gallstones blocking my bile duct. This was not too much of a surprise as I had felt okay on the day of the scan. It was therefore up to me whether to have the gall bladder removed or not. Given that I had experienced several recurrences of gallstone pain I opted to have it out. So I am now on the waiting list. The doctor couldn't tell us how long that would be, but I could change my mind about having the op at any time up to the day of the appointment.

But there is a complication. One of my scans to look at my gall bladder had revealed a cyst on a kidney. So I have an appointment to see another specialist at the end of May about that. (Perhaps I should worry about that as my brain tumour started off as a possible cyst.) It was suggested that we should wait until after the other consultation because it would be possible to see to both things at the same time which would avoid the need to be anesthetised twice. So I can forget about operations until after my 60th birthday, which is a bit of a relief.

My next hospital appointment is the rearranged meeting with the oncologist to discuss the plan for monitoring my brain tumour and whether I can apply to have my driving licence back.

7 April - a day trip to Blackpool

On Sunday 7 April I went for the day to Blackpool, not to be beside the seaside but to visit a radio and electronics show. The day went without a hitch - to my great relief as the night before I had experienced a mild attack of gallstone-induced back pain.

It was good to be doing something like this again. The only problem was that I am still a bit unsteady on my feet. I nearly lost my balance a couple of times. The extreme vertigo I experience means I keep well away from stairs unless there is a stout rail to hang on to or Olga is there for support.

I have spent some time searching out other people's experiences of recovery from brain tumours to find out if this unsteadiness is common at all. I suppose I should just count my blessings because most people it seems end up in a wheelchair after treatment and never recover at all. But a few have mentioned balance problems. All of the other side effects of treatment seem to have disappeared, but I'm rather afraid that this problem is going to be with me for the rest of my life.