Treatment over – let the recovery begin

I’ve always been a bit ‘fad-ish’, so it should come as no surprise that my initial enthusiasm to blog regularly about my cancer ‘journey’ waned at some point.

But my lack of on-line activity goes deeper than that. Way deeper than I can easily comprehend.

Some time in mid-May, I regained my precious Stem Cells, but lost my ‘Mojo’.

I was being drip-fed morphine and was in a worse state than I imagined/realised, so forgive me if I can’t give you the exact details, but I lost a whole pile of enthusiasm for many of the things that I love – reading books; browsing magazines; good food; fine beer; better TV; and writing.

Bluntly, I just couldn’t be arsed! I just wanted to rest, sleep or vegetate on social media reading Buzzfeed listicles.

But you know what? It’s not only cancer and other diseases that the NHS can help fight. They can help you deal with your psychological problems as well. I was lucky enough to be referred to the psycho-oncology service – essentially a clinical psychologist for cancer patients.

It’s not the ‘lie-on-the-couch-and-tell-me-about-your-childhood’ type of consultation, but a very, very helpful one-to-one service where you can chat about your issues at your own pace and develop coping techniques. And as well as an in-patient service, they’ve been happy to keep seeing me on an out-patient basis which is hugely appreciated.

So that’s where the blog’s been hiding for the past six weeks!

Now that I’m back, here’s what’s been happening.

Today I had a clinic appointment with my consultant. It was a good meeting. A very good meeting.

In short, I’m is as good a place as I could possibly be (her words), eight months after first being diagnosed with Mantle Cell Lymphoma.

My treatment is finished. I no longer need to keep coming into Ward 1 at the Western for regular blood tests. My many blood ‘counts’ are all good, showing the bone marrow is now working and my recovery is on track. I’m in remission.

Assuming I don’t catch an infection, my post-transplant monitoring will now be done via clinic appointments with my consultant – next one in six weeks (SIX WEEKS!). Then it’ll be every three months, then four months, then six months and if luck remains on my side might even get to annual check-ups.

I’ll get a precautionary CT Scan and follow-up Colonoscopy in the late autumn, but apart from my on-going psychologist meetings and some dental check ups, that’s my treatment over and done with – 21 days of chemotherapy, 12 days of Stem Cell transplant, a handful of infection admissions, numerous day visits to Ward 1 out-patients, and ‘hunners’ of injections.

Ironically, this ‘end point’ comes after two or three weeks of fairly intensive post-transplant activity.

I managed to pick up a fairly nasty infection in my Hickman Line three weeks ago which had me admitted for four days as they tried four different types of IV antibiotic to try and deal with my fever. And it was possibly this cocktail of antibiotics that caused a ‘chronic kidney injury’ that had me re-admitted for two days a week later, with my blood tests showing worryingly high scores on the creatine part of my kidney function test. All this meant I was at the Western for five days in one week!

The only hint I had of a kidney problem was an increased thirst throughout the day and a need (desperate need at times!) to visit the bathroom once or twice through the night. And though I’m told my blood tests are now ‘normal’ I’m still experiencing these symptoms which is a real pain.

I’m also still experiencing quite a lot of fatigue, with regular long lies (thank-you Mrs S) and daytime naps. My consultant reminds me that my body’s been through some brutal experiences and it will be well into 2017 before I can hope to be fully back to ‘normal’ (or whatever passes for normal).

To help my recovery – at least that was Mrs S’s sales pitch to me – we’ve only gone and got ourselves a puppy – my first ever dog. Little Bailey the Sproodle (dad a miniature poodle; mum a springer spaniel) is 11 weeks old and has settled in really well and, yes, I think we’ve hit it off. Still can’t believe I was at a puppy training class last night, though…

The dog is primarily a 40th birthday present for my wonderful wife (her big day’s on Saturday). We’re off out to celebrate that, and my good news, to the excellent Ondine’s seafood restaurant tomorrow night – just hope my taste buds do the food justice!

A x

 

 

 

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About Andrew Slorance

Husband, father, son, brother, cyclist, pen pusher, pedant, contrarian , fights Mantle Cell Lymphoma in my spare time.
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13 Responses to Treatment over – let the recovery begin

  1. Willie says:

    Andrew, really glad that you are back writing.Feared the worse but for once no news is actually great news! ! Willie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Biz Reid says:

    Great to hear you’re back to your writing. Hope you keep well and keep us updated. That had to be the cutest puppy I’ve seen in a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sheila Thomson says:

    Drew what great news!I am so happy that all is well and you are in remission,onward and upwards now Drew! Bailey will be a great addition to the family! Hope you and Louise have a lovely meal and wish her happy 40th from me.X

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Margaret Nicoll says:

    Fantastic news, Andrew and the new addition is adorable. I have no doubt he will keep you busy! Margaret. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. clare says:

    Great to read your blog Andrew and learn you are in remission. Your doglet is gorge!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. MGT says:

    Good to read your blog again – and although you have had a hard time remission is such a lovely word! Best wishes to yourself and Mrs. S – you both have something to celebrate😀
    And I love your Sproodle – more pictures please!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. MerlinMMF says:

    Great to hear you are in remission Andrew. Enjoy the birthday celebrations.
    P.S. I really want a dog, as do my kids but hubby doesn’t – pics of Bailey only make me want one more! 😀 Take care. Mel x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Stu says:

    Fantastic news big guy. Keep well!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. aileenlamb says:

    Brilliant to read this update. It’s been a tough gig but well done getting out the other side!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Scott Murray says:

    Great to hear this good news Andrew. Onwards and upwards..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jane says:

    Told you at the start of this ‘journey’ there would be light at the end of the tunnel Andrew and I am so pleased for you that it has been the case……………My friend, however, is going in on Monday to get her 2nd stem cell transplant, the first being just over 3 years ago so I know what you know what the news about your remission will be the best news you have heard! Fingers crossed you continue to get stronger and stronger. Take care, J

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ruth Allen says:

    So nice to have you back and to hear your news. Out of sight isn’t out of mind – we all know that life gets in the way – but it’s good to hear how things are going :0)

    Like

  13. Pingback: Time to up the pace? | The fight of my life

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