A very warm welcome to my second attempt at blogging.
Anyone familiar with my first effort will be aware it was about a fat (bald) bloke’s effort to lose weight after some gentle ‘encouragement’ from the wife and kids.
Ironically this blog will also no doubt feature a lot on weight loss, but with less effort on my part (see, silver linings already…).
So, what’s happened and why am I doing this? First the why.
If you do nothing else today (apart from read this obviously!) have a gander at the utterly brilliant and inspiring blog by my ‘fellow traveller’ Phil Starkey (www.philstarkey.wordpress.com). I’m going to steal a lot of Phil’s stuff in the weeks to come (and if he happens to read this “sorry Phil, I hope you don’t mind?”). Phil kicked off his journey in March 2014 with this post, and it pretty much works for me:
“Welcome to my blog. It’s my way to keep a some what public diary of how I feel as I go through my journey with Cancer. You are welcome to join me. So who writes a blog on cancer? Well me for starters. Its not exactly a subject you’d go googling for an entertaining read I’ll admit. Perhaps, you should ask the question ‘who reads a blog on Cancer?’. Well, that’s you. So now we’ve got over that, let’s begin. Like most things in our lives, you remember the extreme situations and they can provide some of he most bizarre and funny moments, the darkest thoughts, and the most overwhelming positive view on life. I can’t promise any of the above though, because I’m only just getting going on my journey fighting.”
That’s the why, now the what.
I am one in 500! I always knew I was special…
500 people a year in the UK get diagnosed with a rare form of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma (NHL) called MANTLE CELL LYMPHOMA. Mainly men (typical…) and mainly in over 60s.
It’s one of the ‘newest’ of the 40-odd NHLs that have been discovered. Look it up if you want more info – use Macmillan, NHS or Lymphoma websites and not the mad American pages I’m trying to avoid!
There is currently NO recognised cure for Mantle Cell. That was a bit of a blow to the solar plexus. But there are lots of treatments.
Because I’m young (stop laughing at the back) and relatively fit (knew the bike investment was worth it) they should be able to throw the kitchen sink at this bugger to try and put it into remission. It won’t stay there, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes – again, read up if you want a bit more detail.
The kitchen sink in this case includes two different courses of chemo, steroids, then after five months of intensive treatment, some sort of re-transplant of my own stem cells that will see me hospitalised for another month or two.
I’ve got a week until my CT scan then I’m straight in to the Western on Dec 2 to start my chemo, steroids etc. Dec 2 is also my dad’s 70th birthday. Bugger!
I’ll use the next few days to use my blog to reflect on how I’ve got here (including a plea to spread the #getchecked message) and to think about how this isn’t just affecting me, but my nearest and dearest loved ones.
In the meantime, a thought struck me when I was out for a few beers with a great bunch of guys and gals on Friday night.
I, personally, am one of life’s great avoiders. Conflict, dispute, happiness, sadness. I don’t like to get involved. I get tongue-tied, awkward. I hate colleagues’ leaving parties when the departer departs. No fan of fawning over new-born babies brought into the office. Anything that requires emotion. An emotional cripple? Aye, kind of.
What struck me on Friday night is that I wouldn’t have come out to the pub if the cancer boot had been on the other foot. I’d have made an excuse. I’d have stayed away, petrified what to say.
So… if it helps, let me set out a few grounds rules that I hope we can follow!
This bastard might be un-cureable, but it ain’t untreatable. I’m not here to be wrapped in cotton wool. I’m here to be treated as normal. I’m here to take the piss and have the piss taken out of. I’m here for the inappropriate jokes. I’m here for the banter and the gossip (especially the gossip!).
I work on the old mantra of the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!