A ROUNDUP + Velindre – appt.: Dr. Lester re.: MRI Results – 12-Aug-2011 – 15:15

A ROUNDUP + Velindre – appt.: Dr. Lester re.: MRI Results – 12-Aug-2011 – 15:15

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Hi,

well a whole week since my last Radio Therapy and I still seem OK!

I was on time for a change so not driving hell for leather.

As I thought Jason Lester is still on holiday and was right so I saw his Registrar Rachel Micalles – I am pleased to say the MRI scan has for certain shown up no signs of mets. in the spine anywhere nor in the sacrum or seemingly the pelvis so that is the good news!

The not so good news is that I do have fairly notable degenerative disease in the spine – I offered the explanation this might be as a result of a degenerate life but seems not!

They are not sure what causes it but in the main, in my case, put it down to being the result of wear and tear damage – well I guess I’ve earned that diagnosis!

I gather that being more specific about diagnosis is not really worth the effort at this stage as the likelihood it will be some form of arthritic condition seems certain and clearly I am shrinking!

I have in fact lost about 3 inches in height largely as a result of the disease, though scoliosis and being cut in half do little to help!

SO BACK TO CANCER!:

It seems I have survived remarkably well to date! I am told that the Chemo. did indeed shrink the tumour and seems to have killed off the cancer in the lymph system – SEEMS is an important word here as it is, at this stage hard to tell!

Then having had, as described in this blog, very little side effects from the belting with chemo. it was on to Radio Therapy and 20 rides of around 57 seconds on the Linear Accelerator being cooked with accelerated electrons!

To date I have also survived this well – I was reliably informed that I would most likely be far too unwell to drive myself to treatment every day but fortunately I drove myself on every occasion and apart from around an hour in the evening when I felt very tired I have had virtually no side effects of consequence.

At the moment I am told there is little point in scans or a ‘flexi’ as the full effects have not completed adequately to conclusively show up and apparently the inside of the bladder is likely to be fragile and inflamed AND very prone to the introduction of infection so leave well alone.

Next appointment is now Mid October – which beats even the original 6 month prognosis at best!

SIDE EFFECTS:

It is not strictly true to say ZERO side effects but for sure they have so far been inconsequential.

At one stage for a day or two I had perifferal vision flashes which were a bit odd and I guess must have been an effect on the optic nerve of the blood supply due to cancer (maybe not!).

Fortunately I have not felt sick at any stage and my appetite has been fairly good – largely due to the efforts of Lee in pandering to it! Also to be fair thanks to Nairn in the early stages for the constant supply of relevant mouth washes such as ‘Difflam‘ which controlled the problems of mouth tongue and upper throat ulcers, which only really featured in the early days of Chemo.

There have been periods of mild diarrhea but of little consequence and with the hernia to my nephrectomy wound I have got used to this!

Several of the other patients have said their diarrhea has been quite a problem at times – fortunately mine has been only occasional and no problem.

There is no doubt they have been playing merry hell with my bladder! Particularly during Radio Therapy and I am urinating far too often for convenience! Particularly at night where I rarely get more than around 2.1/2 hours of continuous sleep without a visit to the toilet!

To be fair I do consume a fairly high level of fluid with around 2 pints of fruit juice a day minimum and at least 4 pints of milky strong coffee.

I also consume not less than a pint of yoghurt a day in one form or another – I FEEL that since the system is being bombarded and the gut flora seriously damaged or at best irritated it is worth helping with a replacement together with a consequential amount of fruit relative to normal.

Well if the treatment is working and these are the worst symptoms so far I would call this a very good trade off – though we will not know just how successful the treatment has been for a few months. That said the very fact that I am still here is very much down to the treatment as in April I well recal Jason Lester’s prognosis that without treatment I had a probable 3 months at best 6. Well I’m still here and feeling OK – of course not 100% energy wise but beyond that I can hardly complain and this is after all 13 years after I first presented with ‘frank haematuria’ (I miss spelled that and MS correction was ‘crematoria’ Ha Ha!) as the first symptoms of all the fun to come since!!

Haematuria:

A passing tip for those who are too scared to go to their Doctor if they think they may have blood in the urine the obvious diagnosis is ‘stupidity’!

Blood in the urine is a SYMPTOM only go see your Doctor as soon as possible – most causes can be dealt with simply the others WILL KILL YOU if you let them get hold undiagnosed!

A simple test if you are in doubt is to pass ALL urine into a glass (clean) coffee jar and leave it to stand until naturally cooled blood in the urine is likely to settle out as a distinct band but just because it doesn’t does NOT mean you should avoid seeing your Doctor.

Blood in the urine is also an early sign of possible diabetes and minded that The EU is threatening to withdraw driving licences from those with diabetes who let it reach the stage of injectable Insulin perhaps an early check is well advised!
.

 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
on: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com  
TWITTER: Greg_LW  
Health/Cancer Blog: http://GregLW.blogspot.com  
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RADIO THERAPY (LinAc) Day ONE! – 11-Jul-2011

RADIO THERAPY (LinAc) Day ONE! – 11-Jul-2011
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Hi,

I was quite glad we had arrived early – we had expected rush hour traffic but it seems few people work in South Wales! There were no appreciable build ups of traffic either as we drove past Newport on The M4 nor as we drove on to The Bryn Glas Tunnel and on past Cardiff at around the speed limit almost all of the way – unimpeded by people on their way to work!

Then on to exit 32 and into WhitChurch and Velindre.

The procedure once checked in was to wait in the waiting room of the Machine one is calibrated to! In my case LA3.

The Linear Accelerator is a large piece of equipment with a large price tag of between £1.2 & 1.5 Million + the cost of installation maintenance and a hands on crew of 3 in a spacious and well lit room.

As you wait in the waiting room it is clear many of the patients are regulars and know eachother as they sit there with their issue blue plastic bags as slippers! This is designed, I understand, to track the minimum of outside contaminant into the machine area.

Also it soon becomes clear that dependent on what exact location is being zapped whether you are a drinker or a pee-er! I gather people with prostate cancer being zapped have to drink a certain amount of water before their treatment whereas I with a tumour on the uretal stub on the bladder am expected to empty my bladder as much as I can.

These different perfomances to order are designed to ensure that each treatment the organ concerned will be the same size and position!

The machine or should I more kindly call it an instrument is similar to this one but different!! Though it is made by Elektra:

The gantry itself rotated as do the individual heads as the bed liftf and lowers and moved in the lateral plane to get positioning spot on.

Then it is onto the metal monster (well plastic coated) where one is positioned EXACTLY and the three tattoos from assesment last week are lined up with the lasers  (one on each hip approx on the joint and the third on the pubic bone). Positioning is and needs to be very precise and then a scan is done to identify excatly where the tumour is.
The large Accelerator head is then swung through various positions to take exact measurements befor the 3 operators withdraw to safety and out of the room whilst you are left on the table in exactly the right position for the accelerated particles to be fired through me.

In my case my oncologist has decided the dosage (length of bombardment) and direction, which is 3 positions of the beam/particle accelerator one from aboveslightly obliquely and two from the left side at different angles.

I presume the oblique is to avoid the particles passing through the spine on the way out!

The beam of accelerated particles continues from each position for between 15 & 28 seconds it seems – thereby determining the dose or for that matter damage done!

The Particles enter the body and pass out the other side, I gather doing damage all the way through, so on any one visit a straight line of damage is done through 3 lines but each passes through the tumour. Next visit the beam will pass through 3 slightly different lines but every time Zapping the tumour.

There is no pain sensation in fact the only giveaway the machine is on is that everyone legs it out of the room and one has a David Howarth moment; I hope you have read the WWII epic of survival ‘We Die Alone‘ which he wrote or that comment will make little sense!

Also as the ray actually fires the machine makes a noise similar to an electrical shorting of a cable.

The whole procedure takes only a few minutes and there is no realisation that it has been done!

Then it is clamber off the machine, in my case due to having lost all my stomach muscles and nerve instructions in 2001 due to the operation, subsequent MRSA infection of the wound and gross hernia of the wound – the staff help me back to a sitting position.

Then cheery chats and ‘see you tomorrows’ and back onto The M4 for the 70+ mile round trip. Remembering to take ones blue plastic bag slippers with one!

 .
 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
on: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com
TWITTER: Greg_LW  
Health/Cancer Blog: http://GregLW.blogspot.com  
Enhanced by Zemanta