Cancer Update!

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Cancer Update!

I have not been fit enough to update the website in ages now, and I am sorry that this Update is about Cancer, but I cannot put it off any longer.

This Cancer stuff is a right royal roller coaster, one minute everything is fine, and a year has passed, and the last PET scan was all clear, and then a year later you get a discomfort in the neck, but I am rushing a bit here, lets go back two weeks…

I had a meeting a couple of weeks back with the great Mr. Hogg, he is one of the best ENT (Ear Nose and Throat) consultants that this Island is lucky to have, and also a good laugh to boot, This was just a follow up a year after coming out of Clatterbridge, and although he was expecting a normal quick in and out meeting I let him know that I was feeling a pressure on my neck from the glands in my neck, this came as a shock to Sue, and after a quick prod and a camera shoved up my nose to check on the primary cancer location, it was recommended that I go for a biopsy.

I was warned that the biopsy was going to be very painful, and I was asked to take some Diazepam beforehand to help me through this, and basically not looking forward to the treatment I arrived at the hospital a few days later drugged up and waiting to be stabbed.

What happened next was very strange, I told the Doctor doing the Biopsy that I was a tad scared as I was told that this as going to be painful, and he assured me that he will make sure that it was fine, he had me lay down on table in the surgery ward and he positioned himself behind me and then a large screen TV was placed directly in front of me, I do not remember the local pain injections at all, and the next thing that I recalled was watching a large needle on this big screen working its way through the tissue on my neck, I did not feel a thing, and in fact by this time I was actually memorised on the video display of the Ultrasound machine, after a few seconds a large dark mass appeared and I as told that I would hear a sound when the needle would take a biopsy and as he tried to penetrate the dark mass a click was heard to which I said out loud apparently ‘You Missed that didn’t you’!

The Doctor gave out a small chuckle and then I asked him a question that ‘How did he know where the needle was regarding the flat image on the screen, he said that it was just practice and then started to explain what was happening to me as I was obviously interested and also ‘I did not feel a thing’!

He explained that he had to be very carefully and demonstrated on the video display that ‘This was my carotid artery, and on the display I sore this thick pulsating line being moved gently by the needle that he had inserted into my neck, he explained that if this was punctured I would be in a really big problem, he then talked me through what he was doing step by step to again I sore another black mass appear, he said that the black masses were fairly normal and quite often do not cause us any issues at all, this time I could se that the needle was deforming the black mass as it gently pushed against the side of the mass, and again the warning about the sound was mentioned and this time I sore that the needle had inserted into the side of the mass and he had successfully taken a sample, this was repeated again with another mass and then he said he was done, a large lump of micropore was placed over his stab holes and I was sat up, the shock of the lines of blood on the floor and all over his surgical tunics was a bit more than I was expecting, he confirmed that this was mine and very normal due to the location of the biopsy being taken, to say it looked like a murder had taken place was an underestimate, and throughout this I had not felt a thing.

I was quite amazed that I had not felt anything during the biopsy, and recalled that I also thought that the diazepam had not worked as I was feeling normal, anyway I managed to basically sleep for the next 48 hours, I just could not stay awake, this was the effects of the diazepam…

A short time after this was when I started to go downhill fast, although I did not see this coming.

I was pretty stressed as it was confirmed that the Cancer was back from the tests on the Biopsy, and I was being asked to travel to the UK for a PET Scan on the following Tuesday, as this date grew nearer, I was getting more and more stressed, this was not normal for me, I normally am pretty laid back, but I was getting worried.

I was not feeling too great, I had just awoken and not feeling too great at all, this was the day before I was going to fly to the UK for the PET scan, I had done the normal walk to the bathroom, half asleep and staggering as usual whilst waiting to wake fully up, I remember going to the bathroom, doing what is normal in the mornings and was exiting the bathroom when I just collapsed, I remember the pain of hitting the floor which had at the time seem to rush up and hit me hard, but not a great deal more.

I had to shout Elaine who tried to get me up and failed and luckily Hayden (my son) was still in as it was a workday for him and still early enough that we did not miss him, with the two of them dragging me vertical I was staggered back to bed, I do not remember much after this.

Apparently ‘Meds’ was called, this is a great service on the Isle of Man and means that we have access to a doctor at any time of the day, and I can only presume that the words ‘Collapsed’ and ‘Cancer’ was mentioned as the next thing that I can recall was that the Doctor was stood by the bed and asking me questions, at this time I was found to be suffering from the full-blown effects of sepsis and a few other things that were found out later, anyway an ambulance was called and again the next thing I am aware of is being strapped into a chair and lifted down 2 floors and out into a bitterly cold Manx day.

I do not recall the trip into Nobles which is about 30 minutes of normal car travel, I do recall being transferred from the ambulance trolley to the bed in A&E.

At this point, bloods were taken, other tests done, and it was quickly found that everything was too low, I did have sepsis, as well as cellulitis and basically not in a great way, and it was the following day that I started to be aware of what was happening.

Me in AE - Again
Me in AE - Again

Major antibiotics were dripped into me via IV lines and stuff fed into the PEG tube, but thankfully for me I was transferred to Ward 1 and at least here things started to get back to normal. Sue managed to get in fairly early and outside of the normal visiting hours as she is my registered carer, this thankfully meant that all of my normal meds could be given in the same order and at times that suited me, this stopped me from throwing up, which I was never been a fan off.

At this point it was explained that I was in the early stages of sepsis and that it was lucky that I had come in then, a few days later and it would be a totally different ball game indeed, for me though it was the Cellulitis that was the painful part, with it affecting most of the torso and head, it was like my skin had turned to metal and that moving it was ridiculously painful, the sepsis had caused this side effect and whilst that was infecting my blood one way this cellulitis was attacking me another way, I had black lines drawn on me to show where it was then and to also see if the antibiotics where working on a daily basis.

Cellulitis Causes the infected area to turn Bright Red
Cellulitis Causes the infected area to turn Bright Red

Being on Ward 1 did mean that I was also just a few seconds away from the Mr. Hoog, department and he would pop in daily to check on my progress and I think have a nice break from his normal days’ work.

He informed me that he had spoken to God which is a nickname that we had come up with for the even greater Mr. Lancaster in the UK and had informed me that once out they would arrange a new appointment for the PET scan, and sure enough I was released on the day before the bank holiday weekend and the sent to the UK for the PET scan at Clatterbridge on the following Wednesday.

The Plane to Liverpool Early in the Morning
The Plane to Liverpool Early in the Morning

The flight over and the taxi to Liverpool was surprisingly faultless which me expecting the gremlins to mess things up.

It was a bitterly cold day in Liverpool and I was happy to arrive at Clatterbridge, everything there was painless and totally relaxed, I think I managed to sleep through most of the testing, even fitting the canular was totally painless as expected really, I just wish all the doctors at Nobles would be sent to Clatterbridge for training regarding inserting a canular, totally different al home, I have learnt that you need to get a nurse to fit a canular, the doctors are so out of practice.

It was painful visiting the shops afterwards whilst waiting to get back to Clatterbridge, mainly because we visited CEX where there was a great deal of photography gear that I really would have loved to have got my hands on.

Sunset at Ronaldsway
Sunset at Ronaldsway

The trip home was faultless as well, so what’s happening? …

The Cancer is back! That’s definite, but I am now waiting on the PET scan results to find out if it is just in one of wo nodes in my neck or is it else ware, hopefully it is just in the neck, and I have been told that this will be fairly easy to sort, a small incision and a couple of cuts and they remove what is infected, if it has spread then I may have a bigger problem, it is now a waiting game and it does get me down.

No one really talks about ‘Cancer’, No one really wants to listen, it is a tabo subject and quickly laughed off. What is never mentioned is that it becomes a lonely place, self indused, but still you cannot help but feel very alone, the best way that I can explain this it’s like I am in a room, but I am locked in a glass jar, I cannot hear anything outside of the jar, I cannot reach out for comfort when I need it, and thus I just lock myself away with my own thoughts and my own problems. You cannot help but get depressed, you laugh on the outside and look alright to other, but you cannot help but put yourself into a step dive into a depressed state. For me the mornings are the worse, my partner leaves for wor early and Sue (who is my registered Carer) does not appear to around 10am, it is just a few hours, but in that time I often find that I have dropped to a vry low level, once you have Cancer you always carry the worry that it will return, about a year ago I was given a PET scan and told that it was clear and that I did not have Cancer, just as well as the treatment took everything from me, now just 6 months later I am told that it has returned, that is a real kick in the arse,  I have spent 1 year now without being able to eat or drink, I am dragged around Tesco’s once a week which I used to actually look forward to, I loved to cook, and try out strange and different recipes, now I look at labels and I cannot even rememmber what things taste like, I just remember that I used to like them, I miss steak and Chips, Creame Brullee, Ice Cream from Davidsons and I have never even tasted baconaise which seems to be the in thing nowadays, this is just one nail in the coffin that pulls you down, loneliness is another, and there are so many other things that all fight for attention and to keep you low, having Cancer is a very lonely place.  

Sunset on the Island
Sunset on the Island

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