Showing posts from October, 2015

Countdown to chemo

Today I start my chemotherapy treatment, ready as I'll ever be to combat this disease and reclaim the health until recently I took for granted. This piece explains some of the steps along the way as I prepared my body and mind for what lay ahead. The week before treatment started would be a flurry of tests as we sought to work out just what we were up against. The latest in diagnostic science would analyse every part of my body in every way to find out whether the lymphoma had spread to elsewhere. Regardless, the treatment would be similar through the chances of success less certain. First up was the PET scan – as the internet explains, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of imaging test. It uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body. Canberra has just one PET scan machine, and thankfully on Thursday morning it was at my disposal. I happily admit to my support for all things nuclear, a source of science that has brought great

This is not a drill

Right now I'm part way through the battery of tests that inevitably follows a cancer diagnosis. It is still too soon to know if the lymphoma has spread. This post, enhanced by the pleasing effects of a mild steroid, captures the big reveal last Tuesday when I learned the result of my biospy, and some of my early reflections on the experience. At the moment I'm at home mustering my strength ahead of the start of chemo on Wednesday. While sitting idle in my hospital bed awaiting the results of biopsy, in my head I had an image of how a patient got The Big News. I pictured notification from a friendly nurse that I was expected at an appointment an hour or two down the track. I pictured bringing together my wife and parents. I pictured walking into a tastefully decorated room in the hospital, fresh flowers and a box of tissues on the table, a comfy chair awaiting me. I pictured a collection of kindly hospital-scrubbed experts sitting around the table, there to meet every

What a difference a week makes

I wrote this on Sunday, at a point at which I was still awaiting my diagnosis. This post tells the story of my growing symptoms, entry to hospital and biopsy. As I wrote yesterday the diagnosis has since come back as primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma. I'll write more about that in a little while. What a difference a week makes. As I sit here in the Patients Lounge (their decision on the apostrophe, but I digress) with my iPad perched across my knee I can't help but stare out the window at the amateur cricketers already rolling their arm over despite the early hour on a Sunday morning. A few days back I was dressed in whites as resplendent as theirs, only mine were a bit looser fitting at the back and revealed a saggy pair of underwear. Still, make me wicketkeeper, put the whole field in front of the stumps and no-one would be any the wiser. Until I leapt up for an appeal. At least I'm out of the white gown now, and my pyjamas. I'm actually wearing a rather natt

It's not a tumour... actually it is

In years past I've had great fun blogging. While I hope other people get a kick out of the things I write, my primary audience is myself. The process of putting idle thoughts in print (or pixels) can be remarkably therapeutic. Right now I could do with some therapy. I've just learned I have a serious health condition - primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma - that will keep me busy for the next six months or more. This will be six months of chemotherapy, nausea, hair loss, exhaustion, infection risk and rest, hopefully with some joyous moments along the way. (Heck, I'll take dull moments where I can.) My plan is to capture some of the experience in my blog. It won't be an exhaustive account but it will give some insight into the process. I hope to learn a bit along the way. Other people might as well. Enjoy the ride!