CT Scan – The FIRST since Chemo & Radiation!

07-Dec-2011 – CT Scan – The FIRST since Chemo & Radiation!
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Hi,

This was my first full CT Scan since the joys of Chemo & Radio Therapy earlier in the year!

Scans come with their own mix of anticipation and dread! I dubbed it ‘Scanziety’ some 12 or 13 years ago when I first started down this cancer route!

Of course you want the scan but naturally one fears bad news and there is a constant feeling that perhaps ignorance is bliss – though to be honest I find underastanding EXACTLY where I stand and the depth of the ordure gives me an understanding of just how grim is the battle ahead at this stage and thus I ‘feel’ I have a greater ability to deal with it!

Although I was due at 14:30hrs. at Velindre for my appointment I arrived at 13:35hrs. as I thought I might be down for ‘bloods’ as well and hoped to do that first as there is quite a bit going on at home. Seems they don’t want my blood this time! So I sauntered around to Radiology to check in before going for a coffee in the canteen.

Good news ‘can I do you now sir?’ and I was in and changed into one of those idiotic gowns in minutes – drink another pint of water quick stab to put a cannella in and then a top up of iodine to improve disclosure on the scan.

10 minutes later and I’m free to go and it isn’t quite 14:00hrs!

Now for ‘Super Scanziety as we wait for the results on Friday!

Fingers crossed!

 .
 Please Be Sure To
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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.
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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.
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YOU are welcome to call me if you believe I can help in ANY way. .

Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 01594 – 528 337
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Was This Why My Scan Delay Put Me On DEATH’S HIGHWAY?

Was This Why My Scan Delay Put Me On DEATH‘S HIGHWAY?

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Hi,
one is forced to wonder if this is the reason why a scan I should have had in the first 2 weeks of 2011 was delayed until 04-Apr-2011 thus necessitating Chemo & Radiation!

Had Chemo been needed it could have commenced by the end of January – yet at that stage a simple coin (cuff) cut around the tumour on the bladder wall MIGHT have been all that was required.

It can be argued that due to NHS Wales dishonesty and crass incompetence CLICK HERE a deliberate policy decision was taken to withold treatment by ensuring there was insufficient Radiography facilities for early detailed diagnosis of cancer.
Or was my cancer the result of an even more sinister decision making process as revealed in the article below. Do the numerous QUANGOs feeding parasitically off of The NHS and the excess of management directly cause the inadequacy of the direct clinical budget to deliver the service Lord Beverridge defined before the bufoon Aneurin Bevan politicised the set up of The NHS when given the job of implementing the NHS Plans of Beverridge’s.

GPs ordered to ration cancer scans: Lives ‘being put at risk’ by bureaucrats’ new cost-saving directive

Last updated at 12:26 PM on 8th September 2011

Slashing scans: GPs are being ordered to refer patients to a hospital doctor, who will decide if a scan for cancer is needed - but experts warn late diagnosis mean it can be too late for cancer sufferers

Slashing scans: GPs are being ordered to refer patients to a hospital doctor, but experts warn late diagnosis mean it can be too late for cancer sufferers

Family doctors have been ordered to ration the number of patients they send for life-saving cancer scans to save money.
They are being told to slash the number they refer to hospital for tests including ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans commonly used to spot tumours.
Last night experts warned the cost-saving measures increased the risk of patients being diagnosed too late and dying unnecessarily.
Britain has one of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe, and experts say late diagnosis is to blame.
The cuts are being brought in despite Government pledges to give GPs better access to cancer tests in the hope of saving 5,000 lives a year.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley promised to set aside £750million to help family doctors send patients directly for scans instead of having to refer them to a consultant to decide whether or not they should have a scan.
This process could add several weeks on to the diagnosis by the time patients have waited for an appointment and a slot for a scan.
But it has since emerged that a quarter of Primary Care Trusts are actively discouraging GPs from sending patients for these tests.
 

The figures were obtained through a freedom of information request by GP Newspaper. Of the 116 PCTs which responded, a quarter said they had policies to reduce ‘inappropriate’ referrals by GPs for scans.
And five – Bury, Salford, South West Essex, Southampton and Stockport – have banned family doctors from sending patients directly for scans, flying in the face of the Government’s pledge.
Order: Family doctors have been told to stop sending people for MRI scans to save money

Order: Family doctors have been told to stop sending people for MRI scans to save money and instead send them to consultants to decide whether they need the tests and scans

Instead they are being encouraged to refer patients to hospital doctors who will decide whether or not they need a test.
Dr Clare Gerada, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, warned that stopping GPs from sending patients for scans will delay diagnosis of cancer.
Doctor: A quarter of Primary Care Trusts are actively discouraging GPs from sending patients for cancer tests

Out of my hands: A quarter of Primary Care Trusts are actively discouraging GPs from sending patients for cancer tests

She said: ‘This is about money and finances, not about putting patients first.
‘How can a junior doctor in a hospital refer for an ultrasound while I – with 25 years’ experience – have to refer a patient to a specialist?’
Lindsay Wilkinson of Macmillan Cancer Support said: ‘Earlier diagnosis makes a huge difference to the chance of surviving cancer. It is vital that GPs are given direct access to diagnostic tests so that those with suspected cancer are diagnosed at the earliest opportunity.
‘Stopping GPs directly accessing scans could be a false economy if GPs have to refer to a hospital specialist who orders the scan anyway.’
Sarah Woolnough of Cancer Research UK said: ‘It is very worrying to hear of PCTs setting referral targets and decommissioning direct access to tests that could speed up a cancer diagnosis.’
Millions of patients a year are referred to hospital for scans including MRIs, ultrasounds, CTs and colonoscopies. They are often used to check for tumours but also to diagnose heart disease, strokes, Alzheimer’s Disease and problems with joints.
PCTs have to pay a hospital for every patient referred for a scan. A CT scan can cost up to £600, an MRI around £500 and an ultrasound about £100, on top of the cost of a patient seeing a specialist.
Last year a major study showed that the UK had consistently lower survival rates for some of the most common cancers compared with Australia, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

PATIENTS TOLD TO ‘TREAT THEMSELVES’

Patients with conditions such as heart problems, lung disease and diabetes will be encouraged to treat themselves at home rather than seeing a GP. 
Under guidelines from the Royal College of GPs, 15million sufferers could be taught to carry out tests such as measuring their blood sugar, before giving themselves the correct dose of drugs.

It is hoped it could save the NHS millions of pounds in unnecessary appointments.
But critics have warned that relying on patients to look after themselves is ‘unsafe’ and could put lives at risk.
In January Andrew Lansley promised to ensure Britain’s cancer survival rates were ‘the best in Europe’ by giving GPs better access to tests.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, National Clinical Director for Cancer, said: ‘Early diagnosis of cancer is a very high priority for the Government. That is why the Cancer Outcomes Strategy, which we published earlier this year, put an emphasis on improved GP access to diagnostic tests.
‘We are working to improve access to relevant diagnostic tests for GPs and will shortly be publishing guidelines which have been developed by GPs working with radiologists and other specialists.’
Although the NHS has been protected from the Coalition’s programme of spending cuts, in reality it needs big above-inflation rises every year just to ‘stand still’.
This is because of factors such as the ageing population and rapid medical advances.
Many workers in the NHS argue that the 0.1 per cent real terms annual rise in the NHS budget is, in reality, a fall.
Health trust bosses have also been told to make £20billion in efficiency savings over the next few years.
To view the original article: CLICK HERE
 .
 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
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05-Jun-2011 – A Bit of Catchup – I have an Excuse ;-)

05-Jun-2011 – A Bit of Catchup – I have an Excuse 😉

Hi,

well my wife says I’ve got an excuse so it MUST be true ;p)

As you know the week just passed in a flash for all sorts of great reasons (one of which was it was my week off!) I still can’t get over the generosity of spirit and nature of all our friends! Of course particularly Gerald & Carol and the team they put together to make Tuesday such a great day for everyone.

So this was my week off chemo and the previous week I was refused chemo ‘cos my blood had not recovered adequately as my Neutrophils were chugging along at only 1! They are not happy administering chemo below 1.5.

So now it is back to reality with a bump and Bloods at Velindre at 14:30hrs. then Clinic to see Julian Lester and let us hope firstly that the bloods are OK for chemo on Wednesday with The Day 01 phase of Carboplatin + Gemcetamide!!

Also I think I will get my first scan results since chemo started – though I’m not sure that will tell us much as it may just be a ‘marker’ since the last CT scan was way back at the end of March.

So fingers crossed – every day is a confrontation with mortality – but then in its own way it has been for 13 years now!

It is years ago that I coined the phrase ‘Scanziety’ as one awaits a scan and ‘superscanziety’ for that wait between scan and results.

Do you know how you can tell someone who has a Urological Cancer’?

They can’t pee in the dark!

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

27-Apr-2011 – 14:00hrs. Velindre CHEMO TREATMENT

27-Apr-2011 – 14:00hrs. Velindre CHEMO TREATMENT

Hi,

lunch was pleasant in the canteen which is just across the driveway from the CDU cardboard box so when the time came I wandered in to be plugged up with no waiting time.

The chemo nurse was brilliant as she had made me up a prescription for yet more mouth washes for the Mouth Ulcers, with much reassurance that they would have me eating toast in no time!!! She lies so charmingly 😉

As we came in she asked Lee if she would mind taking the prescriptions around to the pharmacy which she was good enough to do – I gather it is a VERY busy pharmacy and prone to major glitches due to under manning – as ever management seem unable to get the logistics right on staffing or ‘kit’, much too busy on ego projects squanderring money that should be spent on the core service on footling politically correct stupidities and rebadging to make childish points!

Well this time it was into the chair and a cannula in the left hand – I just have this feeling that if they manage to damage a hand, nerve whatever I am much better off with it being the left hand – I am VERY non ambidextrous!

Fortunately needles never seem to be a problem with me and very rarely are they painful or bleed (Well So Far!).

A quick proving sluice into the vein of saline solution and then the bag is switched to the gemcitabine which is the chemo drug with the saline carrier where as the carboplatin is using a glucose carrier and is light sensative. So just the gemcitabine this time which was over fairly rapidly (about 40 minutes).

Whilst the last of the gemcitabine was being run in the sister kindly rang up Dr. Lester’s secretary for me as I had a request!!!

I would like copies of my skeletal bone scan and the precedingCT Scan – surprisingly in all the years she has been working at Velindre apparently no one has ever asked for them!

I explained that I wanted to put them onto my blog so that people could see exactly what I am talking about – it is easy to put ‘similar’ examples from medical texts and the internet up but I thought my own would be more informative.

She has promised to give Neville Hall in Abergavenny, who hold the CT Scan, a call and Janet at The Royal Gwent in Newport who have the bone scan also to ensure there are no protocol problems.

Janet has already told me there are no problems fr4om her end – after 13 years dealing with me she has got used to me having odd requests 😉

just as that call finished Lee returned with her tales of woe and confussion from pharmacy where every muddle conceivable seemed to be taking place with quite ill people waiting for an age before they could start their journeys home.

Whilst Lee told me of pharmacy the nurse washed out the vein with saline and disconnected me removing the cannula.

Free to go!

Although the treatment took quite a while – well from about 11:00hrs to gone 15:30hrs. there were no glitches.

Well that was my third visit to velindre and my second chemo over and I really must comment just how cheery the staff are – neither Lee nor I have run into a single staff member who hasn’t been prepared to go that extra 9 yards to help. Not knowing our way around the hospital every time you ask for directions they don’t just point nebulously and send you on your way they always lead you to the next junction and show you which corridor to take, with a smile.

So very much better than hospitals like The Gwent which have become huge, impersonal, intimidating and not to mention filthy!

On the way home we stopped off at Boots pharmacy in Chepstow where they had been unable to fill one of my prescriptions before we left this morning, we stopped off for a bit of shopping and I parked the car and by the time I had sat down for a coffe I was on the verge of nodding off again!!

I am increasingly noticing waves of tiredness – fortunately Lee and I have no consequential time commitments other than the regular hospital visits so I tend to sleep if I need to.

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

BONE SCAN – NUCLEAR

BONE SCAN – NUCLEAR

Department of Nuclear Medicine

Information about your radioisotope scan

This leaflet provides information about your radioisotope scan. It explains what this is and how it is performed. It also answers some of the most common questions people ask about this test. If any of the information is not clear or if you have questions not answered by this leaflet, then please ring the Department of Nuclear Medicine on 02920 316237.

Your doctor has asked us to do a radioisotope ‘scan’. This is a test which uses a small amount of radioactivity to produce pictures of bones, organs and other parts of the body.

What is involved?
Usually a small quantity of radioactive liquid is injected into a vein in your arm. However, for thyroid tests the radioactivity may be given as a capsule or a small drink. For lung scans we may ask you to breathe in an aerosol, which does not make you feel ill.

You will have a wait whilst the radioactivity travels to the part of your body that is being scanned. We then take pictures using a Gamma Camera.

How long will I have to wait?
The waiting time depends on the test. It will vary between 5 minutes and 72 hours. This time will be clearly written on your appointment letter.

Do I have to wait in the hospital?
You will be free to leave the department but we may ask you to drink more than usual before the pictures are taken.

How are the pictures taken?
We will ask you to lie on a bed (or possibly sit in a chair) whilst the pictures are taken using a Gamma Camera. It usually takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours to take the pictures. There may be a short delay whilst the pictures are shown to a doctor to see if any further tests are needed during your visit. You are then free to leave the department.

Will I have to undress?
No, but you may need to remove metal items, such as belt buckles, money, keys or jewellery. It is easier to give you the injection if you wear a top with loose fitting sleeves.

Do I need to prepare for the test?
Your appointment letter will tell you if you need to do anything special before your test (for example, stop eating or drinking). You can usually eat and drink as normal between the injection and pictures.


Do I need to stop taking my medication?
For most tests there is no need to stop taking your medication. If there is, we will tell you in your appointment letter.

Will it hurt?
Only the needle pin-prick might hurt a little. You will not feel any after effects from the test. It will not make you sleepy and will not stop you driving your car.

Is the radioactivity dangerous?
No. The amount of radiation you receive for most Nuclear Medicine tests is at most double that which you get every year from natural background radiation.

Do I need to do anything after the test?
Usually you can eat and drink as normal and go where you wish. We may ask you to drink more than usual to help clear the radioactivity from your body. During the test we may give you some medication called a diuretic. This will make you want to pass water more often.

We may ask you to avoid long spells of close contact with children and pregnant women for the rest of the day or for several days. This will depend on the test and the amount of radioactivity you have had. This will stop them receiving any unnecessary radiation.

Who will give me the result of my test?
Your consultant, or someone who works in his/her team, will give you the results of the test. The Nuclear Medicine Department staff will not be able to give you the results of the test.

Is there anything I should tell you before the test?
Yes. Please tell us before you have your injection if you:
• are, or think you may be, pregnant
• are breast-feeding.

Velindre Cancer Centre
Velindre Road,
Whitchurch,
Cardiff,
CF14 2TL

This leaflet was written by health professionals. The information contained in this leaflet is evidence based. It is reviewed and updated every 2 years.

To view the original of this leaflet CLICK HERE

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!

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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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