Not About Saskia

I know I promised you a post about Saskia, but I’m afraid I haven’t got round to that yet. The next one will definitely be about her (probably).

Part of the reason I haven’t got round to writing about her is that last week was chemotherapy week, so we had two trips to London – Wednesday for pre-chemo assessment clinic, and Friday to receive the actual treatment.

Both trips went well. The doctors in clinic were pleased with my progress over the last couple of months, and are hoping this represents what they call a ‘clinical response’ to the chemotherapy. In a couple of weeks I will have a CT scan to determine whether or not this is the case.

Personally I am not getting my hopes up too much, primarily because I have had them dashed too many times before. I was actually reluctant to write this on the blog, in case I was tempting fate – but I figure you’re all on this rollercoaster with me now.

It would be fantastic if it were the chemotherapy eliciting a positive response, but I am also aware that there are other things going on. I have had radiotherapy on certain areas, and a new improved ‘pain management’ regime (painkillers basically).

So it’s difficult to know what’s doing what – but fingers crossed for the chemo!

I was wondering whether I would actually get the treatment, as I have been suffering from light headedness when I stand up after long periods sitting – most likely due to the chemo killing all my red blood cells. Chemo doesn’t determine good from bad cells. It just kills all fast growing cells – cancer cells (we hope) and good cells alike. But my blood test results on Wednesday must have been ok, as I got another big dose of chemo on Friday.

The actual delivery of the treatment went well – aside from dealing with a nurse who was infinitely more interested in repeatedly informing us about her social life than paying full attention to my treatment.

“After you’re done I’m off down the Slug and Lettuce in Wimbledon for a few gins”

“I see, can you concentrate on what you’re doing please, this treatment is kind of important to me”

“Tell you what, I’ll do a manual flush so you don’t have to wait around”

“Ermm… are you sure you are doing this for my benefit, or so you can get down the Slug and Lettuce?”

The manual flush turned out to be a very easy procedure, which involved not doing any kind of flush whatsoever (a flush is where there put a small amount of saline solution down the line into your arm, to make sure you get any treatment left in the line).

I was going to write her lines in some kind of cockney accent for effect, but I decided not to for two reasons:

1 – I remembered this blog is supposed to be about accuracy and honesty.
2 – She wasn’t in the least bit cockney.

And in that spirit I should admit that I wasn’t brave enough to say my lines in that little conversation recital – I did think them though, which I believe makes me kind of brave, to a certain extent.

Anyhow, aside from that little detail, and a slightly bruised vein in the back of my hand, all was fine. Now to see if the lightheaded episodes get any worse after this dose of chemo – and the preliminary results are in… yes, it’s got worse.

In other news, I have made a little resolution – to stop moaning about my appearance.

While on the train home from London on Wednesday a little girl, maybe ten years old, got on the train with her Mum. The girl had a quite severe facial disfigurement, with most of her facial features hard to distinguish, from what looked like some kind of serious burn injury.

I looked at her, and thought that if she manages to cope with that permanent disfigurement, especially knowing how horrible kids can be to each other over the slightest little differences, then I really should not be moaning about being (hopefully temporarily) a bit fat with a round face.

Its funny how life can sometimes make you put your own problems in perspective.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly got my confidence back in my physical form, those issues won’t just go away. But it does mean that I recognise that in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse, and I should appreciate that fact.

Right, I think I will leave it there for today. Next time, Saskia!


Filed under Battle with Melanoma

5 responses to “Not About Saskia

  1. elisamorse

    Great news, sounds like things might be looking up. Possibly. (not getting too excited too;)
    Will keep everything crossed for the scan and hope you get some good news. Thank you for sharing, always good to hear from you.

  2. petegold

    Ben your blog makes such excellent reading.
    Particularly enjoyed the bit bout the nurse and her workaday attitude to your treatment. It often amuses me how medical health professionals have to deal with their job when the people on the other end of it are often in difficult circumstances.
    I’ll never forget watching an ambulance pull up to a collapsed man on the pavement (surrounded by concerned onlookers including myself) and seeing the paramedic get out the trolley, whistling merrily to himself.
    Hope the chemo continues to go okay and your next CT scan brings good news.
    Love and best wishes to u3.

  3. June and Colin

    hello Big Ben! . Its around 12 midnight here..I just opened up my emails and there you are! I couldnt just go to bed without saying something! Thanks again for letting all of us know whats happening. Your doing well Ben. Im sorry all this stuff is going on, but its all to help you. Im going to write a longer reply maybe tommorrow…I cant really think since its so late..Ok mate, your over seas connection will be writing to you again.
    Always good to hear from you…c xxxx

  4. Chris and Ivan

    Hi Ben,
    Thanks for another entertaining and informative post.
    One or two observations :-
    1. If the worsening of your light-headedness (if that’s a word) is a result of the chemo then it’s not being caused by the dreaded ‘mets’.
    2. As a long term member of the IWIWSFC ( I wish I wasn’t so fat club), I have been reminded by the paralympians of just how irrelevant outward appearance really is.

    3.Yes you are brave.
    Love from us both

  5. Claire & Phil

    Hi Ben, so glad the trips went well, like you we’ve got everything crossed that this chemo is doing the job! I hope you continue to feel better now and you’re so right about life putting things in perspective – outward appearance just isn’t important. Love to all of you from all of us xxxxx

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