Dr. LESTER & MY FIRST full CONSULTATION WITH results!

09-Dec-2011 – Dr. LESTER & MY FIRST full CONSULTATION WITH results!
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Hi,

well it was CT Scan on Wednesday and true to form Velindre does us proud by avoiding a long period of ‘Super Scanziety’ and it is straight in to see Jason Lester my oncology consultant who has planned and orchestrated my treatment since my cancer moved up a grade from the care of ‘urology’ specialists at The Royal Gwent in Newport.

It became obvious a year ago that I was moving up a pay grade!

My op on New Years Eve showed that I was in trouble! Then eventually the NHS managed to get their act together and organise a CT Scan – due to the utter incompetence of NHS Wales the scan I should have had in January eventually delivered a result in April! This delay due to NHS Wales mismanagement see CLICK HERE – the outright theft of NHS money to fund NHS Wales vanity projects is a disgrace! How many people have died so that Welsh politicians could rebrand to suit their politics!!!!!!!!!!

I met Jason Lester in April and from his comments it was clear that my prognosis was NOT good and my life expectancy ran to just a couple of months!

My thanks to Dr. Lester and all those caring people on his team and lets not forget the front line staff at the Gwent who have provided the treatment and care that has kept me alive for the last 13 years of cancer!

Dr. Lester’s clinic was running spot on and at 14:00hrs. my ‘Super Scanziety’ ended with an early Christmas present!

My Flexi at the Gwent had been really good with no signs of tumour and even scar tissue was hard to find but surprisingly the CT Scan was also excellent – No sign of any additional tumours with at least a 50% shrinkage of the original tumours in the abdomen and lymph system – thatn is not to say the cancer is gone but it is probably clear with the original tumours either dormant or just scar tissue.

So now with the cancer seemingly gone it is now a watching brief for the future.

I can but hope that after 13 years under cancer’s sword of Damaclese with both short and long term scares!
there will at last be a period of respite!

My thanks to all who have done so much to help and encourage me, support and help during these 13 rather difficult years – Thank you but let us not forget the many who have not been so fortunate and on that note please spend a moment thinking of those you have known, cared for or loved who lost their private war with cancer during those 13 years – not least in my life have been John, my Father, Jean, my Father’s younger brother Alan, Peter, Dave and so very many more!

 .
 Please Be Sure To
My Blogs
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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: 01594 – 528 337
on: http://GregLanceWatkins.Blogspot.com  
TWITTER: Greg_LW  
Health/Cancer Blog: http://GregLW.blogspot.com  
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14-Oct-2011 – appt.: Dr. Lester re.: Treatment Outcomes

14-Oct-2011 – appt.: Dr. Lester re.: Treatment Outcomes

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Hi,

this being the first serious roundup of the outcome of my chemo & radio therapy – neither of which come with much of a track record of certainty – I would be a fool to try to claim I was unconcerned!

I have had a bit of ongoing discomfort which has proved worrying – well worrying for me! A chat with my St. David’s Nurse Nairn (Sort of Macmillan Nursing for Monmouthshire and a bit of Wales where they also run charity shops to fund hospice care etc.) Anyway Nairn was right I think, when she said it was most likely to be part of the aftermath of the treatment and if it was more challenging (mets. or tumour growth) by now it would be more vigerous and likely to have more notable symptoms ‘take some CoCodomol and see if that helps’ – so I didn’t bother.

One aspect of the main wound hernia and the absolute lack of stomach muscles of any use is that it has led to standard male patern groin hernia which is not of help! In fact standing still or lifting becomes very uncomfortable and I have definitely been doing too much lifting recently!

Anyway, the day for clinic caught up with me faster than I had expected!

Jason Lester was running almost on time and he was VERY reassuring as he felt I had fared very well and better than he had expected ‘without so much as having the good grace to be ill’!

Lester feels there is every reason to be optimistic indicating that had the cancer not been destroyed at this stage there was every reason that I would be expected to be considerably more unwell and even not have made it this far!

Lester wants to seem me again just before Christmas as he intends to keep a close eye for the future – probably an element of astonishment and many might think in masochism!!!

So the plan is a Flexi at The Royal Gwent and a CT scan Velindre before seeing Jason Lester for the next check-up.

One thing that he felt of paerticular value was a meeting with his Radiology Consultant and they studied the MRI scan I had had. There is no doubt that I have degenerative spinal damage but that my spine shows no sign of any cancerous invasion or damage.

A spin off of the MRI scan was, apparently, that it showed up the lymph system and there is no visibl;e evidence of the cancer in the lymph glands and since it was in one of the glands in April there was every possibility of spread.

I guess I got lucky with a great deal of help from Julian Lester and his team at Velindre!!

Yes of course the cancer is likely to return but time is of value!

Especially after 13 years and so many rounds in this challenge – There are a lot of people who need to see a future and 13 years looks like a lifetime when first diagnosed the longer I can set an example the better the LIFEline for all.

So off to have a full set of bloods done before heading home to give Lee the good news.

 .
 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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Brynglas Tunnel Fire Does Little to Help! 26-07-2011

Brynglas Tunnel Fire Does Little to Help! 26-07-2011
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Hi,

routine as it has become schlepping up and down the M4 Chepstow to Velindre every day it is still 70 miles round trip and VERY boring.

Today was somewhat different but the bore turned out to be rather longer than most days!

With the radio burbling on in the background this morning I heard an announcement there was a lorry on fire in The Brynglas Tunnel west bound and explosions had been heard

These two tunnels, east and west bound where each 3 lane of the M4 motorway narrows to pass through the two lane pinch point – originally designed to solve congestion in Newport and handle through traffic they were opened in 1967 – Much has happened since!

There can be few who use these tunnels regularly who can not have hoped for a moment that the explosions had be large enough to destabilise the hill the tunnels burrow under, forcing the removal of a sector of the hill to expand the facility of the M4 beyond these two ill planned tunnels.

Here is someone I know who has done several interviews and programmes I’ve been involved in on TV. He too was caught in the traffic and here he is chatting on video about the problems CLICK HERE

With an appointment scheduled for 15:00hrs. I rang LA3 at Velindre and spoke to Stephan – he said they were handling appointments as they could but not to worry if I was late as the staff would stay on until EVERYONE had had their treatment, which was very reassuring.

I rang at 13:10hrs. and normally the journey takes from 35 to 40 minutes BUT TODAY!!!!

I set out at 13:25hrs. and finally arrived after going through the lanes across Redwick, Goldcrest etc. to Nash – not really knowing where I was much of the time – then into the snarl up in Newport which was total gridlock – I eventually arrived in Velindre at 15:40hrs.

Over 2 hours to travel 35 miles!

I received my 57 seconds of ZAP on the machine and then set out home again at about 16:20hrs. – this time I headed north towards Merthyr Tydfal and cut across the valleys to Usk where by now it was18:30hrs. so I stopped off for coffee with friends and eventually arrived home at 20:35hrs.

I must say I find doing this every day a bit daunting!

However I must say the staff at Velindre have been brilliant and have reshuffled appointments and tried to keep no one waiting – in fact I was, with the consent of all the others waiting, bumped up the list and dealt with almost immediately in the light of how much travelling was involved.

Thank you to anyone I delayed and a big thanks to the efficiency of the staff.

 .
 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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A Type of Linear Accelerator (Radio Therapy Machine) 12-Jul-2011

A Type of Linear Accelerator (Radio Therapy Machine) 12-Jul-2011

Varian radiation therapy machineImage by IndyDina with Mr. Wonderful via Flickr


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Hi,
I’m just about to leap in the shower and then it is off to Velindre – YET AGAIN – for the next dose of Radio Therapy.
I’ll try and write up yesterday and today when I get back but yesterday I stood no chance of coherence after a trash night sleep wondering if the alarm would wake me! Then up at 07:00hrs. and uncertain what rush hour traffic would be like.
Anyway must dash 13:40hrs.!
 .
 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  
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Monday 11-Jul-2011 Back on the Tread Mill with RADIO THERAPY

Monday 11-Jul-2011 Back on the Tread Mill with RADIO THERAPY
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Hi,

it is almost 01:00hrs. and I still haven’t made it to bed!

We had lunch with G&C at C’s and then Lee & C wanted some ‘stuff’ at the garden center so we went there on the way home to a backlog of ‘e’Mails from friends etc. and several missed phone calls.

Now, as I have to be up at just after 07:00hrs. to leave just before 08:00hrs. to face 35 miles on The M4 at that time of day when the Bryn Glas Tunnel seems always to be busy as 3 lanes are squeezed through 2!

We have to be at Velindre by 09:15hrs. so off to bed I go!

(probably to keep waking up to check the alarm clock!

 .
 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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06-Jun- 2011 – CLINIC – RESULTS & THE PLAN!

06-Jun- 2011 – CLINIC – RESULTS & THE PLAN!

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Hi,

Shortly after returning from the canteen our name came up and it was into Clinic with Dr. Lester.

Chatted for a few moments about having eventually got married after 26 years – he was quite miffed as we had beaten him as he had been with his partner for 23 years when they got married! He was originally a Londoner but has married a Welsh girl.

Anyway cutting to the chase:

Firstly he is surprised at how spot on my bloods are considering I’ve got one kidney, one adrenal gland years of cancer and buckets of chemo!!

He sees no problem there and is very pleased he has managed to so successfully trash my bloods every time with chemo thus starving the cancer.

Now for the scan:

Some good and some not so bad!

For the first time he feels he can, since I understand the limitations, talk of a cure.

Obviously this is NOT a cure of cancer but a cure of this outbreak and we then have a watching brief, if lucky, for the next return!

Even if we win this round it could be back in 3 months, or 3 years or if VERY lucky longer.

Caveat:

The tumour on the Uretal stump would seem to have shrunk by about 20% that is OK but not wonderful.

The Radiologist and he had conferred and they believe that the Lymph Node which was necrotic & cancerous seems free of cancer but due to deformation it is hard to be certain.

Schematic diagram of a lymph node showing flow...LYMPH NODE Image via Wikipedia

However it does seem that the Lymph Node on The Femoral Artery which was believed to be cancerous almost definitely isn’t and is, like apparently many lymph nodes, naturally deformed and NOT cancerous.   

So What Now & Why:

OK so the game plan changes!

Dr. Lester is relatively pleased particularly as the cancer HAS responded to chemo on the dosages he advocated but it hasn’t destroyed it totally.

The fear is now that if he ploughs on for the full programme as originally planned the cancer may well become imune to the treatment but the chemo will go on beating me up! I gather the aim is to kill the cancer before you kill the patient!

So we now give it one more round of chemo to ‘drive the nail home’ so to speak.

That is a day 01 which is on Wednesday 08-Jun-2011 which is Carb & Gem

Then the following Wed 15-Jun-2011 which is a day 08 with Gem only.

The next phase will be a schedule of 20 hits of Radio Therapy – 5 days a week for 4 weeks. But more of that later when IO know what the full game plan is.

Lester did say that the sideeffects are less punishing but that I am likely to be very tired during the last 2 weeks – Hardly surprising 80 Mile round trip to Velindre on the same boring bit of M4 every day!!

So that is the game plan so far.

I’m ‘fairly’ laid back about it – but then again what choice do I have! So it is best to not get wound up about it – laughing is always a good medicine and with all my various contacts and blogs I just don’t have time to be concerned! JUST SCARED 😉

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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