Monday morning & ready to be ZAPPED

Monday morning & ready to be ZAPPED
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Hi,

the treatment was due at 09:30hrs. which was somewhat tedious as I’m far from a morning person!

I was also unaware of the traffic load I could expect with the potential of rush hour and busy business traffic – fortunately it seems few people in Newport or Cardiff would seem to work in view of the fact that the traffic levels were much the same as normal.

We were very early so we went for a coffee at the canteen first (the coffee and snaks in the canteen are very good value).

I checked in at 09:15hrs. and was taken to the waiting room for the machine I am booked to LA3 (Linear Accelerator number 3).

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 Please Be Sure To
My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.
.
You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help. . YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62
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06-Jun-2011 – THANKS ALL

06-Jun-2011 – THANKS ALL

Hi,

I’m just about to dash off to Clinic at Velindre on the edge of Cardiff but I felt I really must thank the literally 100s of people who have not only congratulated us on the marriage last Tuesday but also given tremendous support in my battle to defeat cancer.

I am ever astonished by the incredible generosity and emotional support of both friends and people whom I have never met.

I do so hope this blog offers some hope and a warm and comforting arm across the shoulder of all who are themselves fighting this pernicious disease.

Thanks for your wonderful support it really counts and if my blog helps just one person be they victim, carer or cared for – then it is worthwhile.

YOU can probably help cancer patients most by talking openly and freely about the disease and when they fail to get the standards of care they deserve then help them to formulate and carry through their reasoned, logical well documented complaint – Nothing improves a system better than a factually presented assessment.

A concise and cogent report WILL help your Oncology Consultant to get the funding he needs!

Never turn a blind eye to poor service or a shoddy hospital – Nothing improves medicine more than rational comment from patients and their friends.

Thank You all for your support, friends, family and strangers alike.

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

. If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order. . Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar. You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help. . YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way. .

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62

18-Apr-2011 – VELINDRE for MY FIRST CONSULTANT CLINIC

18-Apr-2011 – VELINDRE for MY FIRST CONSULTANT CLINIC

Hey ho – a strange event to inflict on Lee’s Aunt Heather on her last full day with us but she wanted to come and see Cardiff before she leaves to fly back to SA tomorrow on the 19:00hrs. Heathrow to Johannesburg flight and then on another 2hrs. to PE.

So we left arriving about 15 minutes early but it took a while to find parking and by the time I had aimed Lee and Heather at the canteen I was about perfect timing for a 13:45hrs. appointment.

First I get sent off to be weighed and measured!! Just how different can I be to Thursday in the same hospital – well it seems I’ve shrunk another inch so when queried I grew it back!!! Weight was almost the same – so I guess I can’t blame gain or loss on Heather’s deserts!!

When I came back to the waiting area Roger & Anne had arrived (his appointment is with Dr. Lester also but at 14:30hrs.) Had it just been Lee and I coming we might well have picked them up en-route as they only live in St. Arvans. They had stopped off for lunch at The Holly Bush carvery and then met Lee and Heather in the canteen by accident over a coffee.

What a riotous life cancer provides!!

Roger has had a bit of a rough time and over the last week had to stop taking his drugs – he is on (was on) 50mg. Sutent – it was making him feel grotty and sleep all the time with no motivation and just depressed – No way to fight cancer, but you can’t fight the drug side effects and he has been very lucky, avoiding Sore Hand & Foot syndrome and the mouth ulcers that often go with Sutent.

Anyway then I was called for yet another set of bloods but R&A were still there when I came out.

A short weight and off to see Dr. Lester – allegedly my kidney function results were excellent even considering I only have one kidney.

He believes that if there is a chance with chemo. I have better odds than most as my body has kept the disease at bay, with some mechanical intervention, for 13 years now and I have no other underlying health issues.

I gather realistic odds are around 5-15% and on that one would hardly bet ones shirt on a racehorse in a field of donkeys but I have every intention of beating the odds – I have to date!

Lester asked if I had any questions and did I understand the chemo. leaflet he gave me last time (lightweight and a bit uninformative springs to mind) I did ask why he had removed one of the pages as look as I might I couldn’t find the Guarantee Page!

I guess it doesn’t work that way 😉

I also asked if it was OK to take pain killers as my back was giving me a lot of pain, unrelated to the cancer.

I’m not sure how to take his answer ;-o apparently as that is the least of the problems take whatever I want!

Later when I told Roger this he related having asked what he should do about his diabetes diet Dr. Lester said eat what you like we will just control the diabetes for you.

Feeling he might be onto a winner Roger asked whether he could drink alcohol having been off of it medically for 3 years.

Dr. Lester is claimed to have paused – looked at him and said you’ve had a piece of gut removed, you’ve had chemo and we have removed a kidney and an adrenal gland and also half your liver and you are on Sutent – what the hell you might as well be half ‘pissed’ – perhaps a little apocryphal but it gave me pause for thought relative to my doubts about pain killers!

Well the last task was to book an appointment for the next clinic which will be 09-May

So that is chemo on Wednesday 20-April then again on 27-April then 04-May BLANK (Two weeks on and one week off!)

I presume that means back on for chemo on 11-May and then again on 18-May and the 25-May off, with a CT scan and the next clinic around the last week of May.

Eventually we left the hospital and I drove Heather all over Cardiff – even stopping to get some pictures of The Millenium Stadium for her to have for John (her husband). Then on to The Bay which really is deeply unimpressive and one can just imagine how seedy it will look in 10 years time – it is all too childish a statement of insecurity and inadequacy!!

I have always found Cardiff to be a seedy and rather silly City with its desperate pretence that Welshness has any significance or ever did have – anything that is so insecure it has to keep leaping up and down to be noticed probably wasn’t worth noticing in the first place. Such a tragedy really as there are some stunningly beautiful areas of Wales to more than compensate for its inadequacy and quite palpable failure!

We then drove out of Cardiff and via a detour up the Rhumney Valley headed around the edge of Newport, yet another spectacularly unpleasant little town!

Back to Chepstow and Heather’s last night with us – it is such a pity she couldn’t have stayed as she would have been a huge boost for Lee who is understandably concerned about the next few months.

& HERE for John as he waits for Heather to come home:
The BT Stand is to the left. The previous Hyde...Image via Wikipedia

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
.
YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way. .

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62

14-Apr-2011 – A LONG DAY AS A ‘READY BRECK STAR’

14-Apr-2011 – A LONG DAY AS A ‘READY BRECK STAR’

Hi,

it has been a long day as I was at Velindre at 08:30hrs. and it is now 02:45hrs. on 15th.

Full marks to the Vampires of Velindre and now that I am glowing like a Ready Breck extra I’m off to bed so I’ll come back and write this up later!

Suffice to say THANKS to the Ladies team at Velindre 😉

#### Addition 15-Apr-2011

Hi,

thats better at least I had some sleep 😉

Increasingly since yesterday morning my lower back is giving me grief but it is an old injury that comes back to cripple me for a couple of days every so often – nothing to do with this bout of cancer, though my natural spinal lordosis has been exacerbated as a problem by scoliosis (the sideways deforming of the spine) which has been caused by the full nephrectomy wound herniation of my original radical nephrectomy scar!

The weight of the hernia on the left side has marginally and increasingly distorted the spine.

Anyway back to yesterday!

Whether the joys of prostate enlargement, the cancer or just that I knew I had to get up early, something I have never been good at in British weather! eventually awake at 0610hrs. I listened to the radiop until the alarm triggered activity at 07:00hrs.

Never having had to confront the so called rush hour traffic of Cardiff and aware that I had to be at Velindre at 09:00hrs. and not knowing Cardiff I set out at 07:50hrs. to be on the safe side.

Unemployment in Wales must be much higher than the statistics would indicate as if that was the rush hour what on earth did they build the motorways for! No hold ups at any stage and I was also fortunate with parking as there seems adequate in the hospital grounds.

After the tedium of trying to park at The Royal Gwent:

which is a very large hospital with a large footprint on an over crowded site supplimented with permanent porta cabin extensions to provide A&E and the like, Velindre Hospital was a pleasure:

I found Nuclear Medicine without much problem and was in the waiting room when the staff arrived at 08:40hrs. and by the time they had found my notes from Dr. Lester’s secretary and weighed me in at 97.4kg. plus measured me at 1m57cms. so I have lost about 2 inches in height over the years due largely to damage and injury!

They were ready to give me my injection at 08:50hrs.

The injection was:

Chromium 51 with a half life of 27.7 days! So now for the next month (almost) I shall be glowing in the dark!! So with special film we can make our own ‘Ready Breck’ adverts!

The carrier used was ETA or EDA – Ethyl Diamin Tetracetic Acid – but since I can’t track this ‘carrier’ down I may be wrong!

Anyway a quick very small injection washing the syringe out by drawing blood into it and reinjecting.

The two nurses on the Nuclear Unit were very cheery – I guess they are used to wandering around at that time in the morning – even when we had the shop the sign on the door was 10:00ish. and I only had to come down a flight of stairs 😉

Then two hours to kill for the blood to percolate around the body spreading the isatope – so I went off to the canteen and had some breakfast and a coffee.

Coffee has hugely improved in canteens with the new gereration of automatic machines but the food is still strange considering one is in a hospital! Very little sight of anything healthy to eat the eggs were some form of scrambled egg with little appearance of egg and rather more like polly filler they had very little taste and I’m sure if dropped they would bounce! the sausages, bacon etc. were fried and saturated in fat and the toast was, to say the least, tired! But I guess one is already ill if one is in the canteen at a hospital and it does explain why so many of the staff are eating out of plastic boxes they have brought themselves!!

Two hours reading in a canteen do NOT pass rapidly but then off to find ‘Phlebotomy‘ to have a blood sample taken. With three staff taking samples and their own min reception the bloods unit miraculously works like clock work – literally with each patient having their own sample tray and electronic timer clock The first sample was taken at 10:50hrs. then after more coffee and an attempt to read The Guardian (what a rubbish paper – little news, much opinion and endless propaganda it is clearly written by about 3 people and a team of cut and paste kids from the internet, no wonder they lost £Millions last year).

Finally after my 12:50hrs. sample I was free to go and after a pleasant drive home I can now await Monday and the results of the test which I gather both counts red blood cells but more importantly measures the efficacy of my remaining kidney. I gather this will determine the dosage of chemo.

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help.
.
YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62

06-Apr-2011 – I’ve SEEN Dr. LESTER (Specialist) & HAVE THE VERDICT!

06-Apr-2011 – I’ve SEEN Dr. LESTER (Specialist) & HAVE THE VERDICT!

Hi,

with some trepidation Lee and I set out with enough time to be there at about 11:45hrs. for a mid day appointment with Dr. Jason Lester, who is to be my new consultant I gather.

Dr. Jason Lester is a specialist Oncologist on the staff at Velindra – the specialist cancer facility in Cardiff.

As ever not a scrap of parking so now we are running ‘tight’ but I know a back street off of the Permit Parking Zone but in my haste modified the side sill of the car on a near invisible wall on the left below my line of sight – annoying but it is only tin!

Just made it in time to find Dr. Lester was running 15 minutes late!

In we go and Janet and I think Dr. Button also there and met Dr. Lester.

Much more relaxed in manner and easy to chat with – assured me he would tell it like it is etc.

He made a point of including Lee and making sure we understood details etc.

Well it is ‘somewhat’ better news as it is confirmed they could not find trace of cancer in the bones anywhere – it seems the area on my right thoracic spine is still not making sense but is not cancer – an old trauma of some sort? Lester seems certain it is completely unrelated to the cancer, which is a relief.

So the aim is chemotherapy with a possible follow on of Radiotherapy.

Best case scenario is that this shrinks and destroys the cancer and buys time – with no reason against it buying years but in the realisation that chemotherapy as the art is now rarely has a good outcome a second time!

Worst case scenario is that chemo plain doesn’t work and then I have less than 6 months so lets hope it works for me 😉

There is no doubt that cancer concentrates the mind and it is astonishing to think that there are currently around 2 Million people in the UK with cancer at the moment!

The plan of action is that first he needs to know accurately, how efficient my remaining kidney is, this will be done at Velindra within 2 weeks in their nuclear medicine facility.

On the outcome of this he will ajust the dosage of chemo accordingly: I need X amount of chemo for Y hours in the blood stream so if my kidney is tacking toxin out fast I will need a larger dose and vica versa.

The chemo I am to have is Gemcitabine and Carboplatin administered in a drip. The dose and mix is varied but is administered once a week 7 days apart and takes about 1.1/2hrs. the first time and around 45 mins. subsequently and a cycle is two weeks being dosed and one week off.

The aim is to start out with 6 cycles with CT scans to see the progress when Dr. Lester deems apposite.

He is fairly upbeat as I am clearly not one to quit after keeping ‘The Bastard’ at bay for 13 years now and he liked the way I was facing it!! He also felt I had general health on my side but obviously stated there are no guarantees.

That said Lee and I are far more relaxed about it than we have been for a while.

Frankly if The Royal Gwent managers weren’t on a bloody silly ego trip weenie waggling about being ‘clever dick’ Welsh this conversation could have been in mid January but the incompetence of over manning and over managing in the NHS means they have been much too busy making fools of themselves with new names, uniforms and livery for their tiny corner of the NHS to pay attention to the health of patients!

There is a mismatch in supply of radiography and nuclear medicine facilities that would have saved more lives with better funding and better management rather than the management showing their insecurity and inadequacy by wasting time and money on fashion and frippery.

There is every reason to believe that if the Hospital management had been doing their job competently I would have had the result of my biopsy from the op on New Years Eve and the relevant CT scan so that I could have had the tumour on the uretic stub removed with a coin/cuff around it and the bladder resealed by mid January without ANY spread to the lymph glands.

What the clowns in management don’t seem to get their head round is that whilst they make the Trust and the idiots in The National Ass for Wales look good with silly new names and uniforms they have potentially cost a small fortune in treatment that they need not have spent and have had more to invest in health and well being of patients – who cares what they call their trust or what livery they waste money on.

Surely it is a NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE – not some foolish parochial Welsh life style and fashion industry!!

Mental midgets at the levers of power will eventually destroy the health service as they have so much else in Britain!

 Please Be Sure To
 .Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.
To Spread The Facts World Wide 
To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help. . YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62
on: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com  
TWITTER: Greg_LW  
Health/Cancer Blog: http://GregLW.blogspot.com  
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19-Aug-2008 – BBC Broadcast Running AGAINST N.I.C.E. Spokesman!

19-Aug-2008 – BBC Broadcast Running AGAINST N.I.C.E. Spokesman!

2008 August 19 13:46:48 BST
Posted By: Greg_L-W.
Discussion
Greg_L-W.’s Blog

Hi,

Monday started out by being ‘interesting’!

I received a phone call from the BBC ‘could I hot foot it to their studio in Cardiff for 12.00hrs.’ well I tried!

You can hear from the eventual broadcast that I arrived after the programme started going out on air and was out of breath but despite the N.I.C.E./Government spokesman I was running against I hope I managed to get our point across.

You can listen to the broadcast and judge for yourself until Sunday if you Click Here with luck someone can put the file onto a web site so that it is archived, as the BBC overwrite it on Monday!

Regards,
Greg L-W.

I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.
If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms see The TAB just below the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order.
.
Thoughts and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Right Sidebar.

You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help. . YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way.
.

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01291 – 62 65 62