Thursday, 25 September 2008

A few wedding pic's

For those who were there and those who couldn't make it we have a selection of photo's online at

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

All's normal..

...and to cap off a memorable month, my latest check-up which I decided to defer till after the wedding was clear - tumour markers all normal!! Back to the Royal Marsden in November.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

The Big Day!

Well we had a wonderful day wedding day. Michelle did a fantastic job organising everything down to the last detail, including an Aston Martin v8 Vantage for me for the weekend! The only thing that she couldn't control was the weather but I kept telling her it was going to be just fine and low and behold it was a glorious summers day. It was great to see so many family and friends join us for the day and I'd like to say a big thank you to everyones cards, presents and words of support. Although some it still remains a bit of a blur, I'm still remembering snippets which fill in the missing pieces. We're still waiting for the official photo's but hopefully they'll complete the blanks.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Update on the update!

I know it's the wrong way round but I decided to retrospectively drop in a post about our wee trip to Monaco to get engaged (see below if you scroll down). Actually, it was just an excuse to show a picture of me driving in a Ferrari!

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Quick Update

Ok, I know I've been remiss in updating, but the fact there is little to report is good news. Back to work, back to normal and haven't had cause to think about the 'c' word until the week before my check-ups. Had two more bi-monthly checks and tumour markers have been normal each time. The trudge over to the Royal Marsden does remind you of what you've been through and importantly is a visible reminder of how many people are currently being affected by cancer. It's sobering to think I'm sitting there feeling relatively fit and healthy, yet there are hundreds of patients, new and old, young and not so young who are coming and going through the RM each and every day, and whose prognosis perhaps is not so fortunate.

As for myself the outlook is one of cautious optimism, as Prof. Dearnley kindly puts it. My history of relapses is such that each clear test is a further milestone.

Oh, I nearly forget to mention, Michelle and I are getting in married at the end of August [I've since added the extra post below]. No point in messing about (well, it's taken me 7 years to propose!). We've both been through the mill over the past three years so it's great to have something positive to look forward to. My next check-up is scheduled for a week before the wedding, but I think I'll defer it till after the honeymoon!

Just like to again thank everyone for their support over the past few years - I couldn't have done it without you all. It's good news so far...I'll take that, two months at a time!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

The Dirty Deed....Done!

Well I had to do it somewhere other than Scunthorpe, so off we jetted for the weekend, complete with diamond ring straining my pocket (and credit card!). Michelle had no idea where we were going. At Heathrow we headed towards a few gates. 'Are we going to Edinburgh?" she asked as I just ordered couple of coffee's. "No, why?" "Well the only other flight is to Nice and thats closing....". Mmmm, better forget the coffee's. She still thought we were only going to Nice until arrival when we diverted to the AirMonaco heli-desk. There's only one way to arrive in Monte Carlo!

T'was the weekend before the Monaco Grand Prix and the circuit was laid out complete with armco and grandstands. An opportunistic local was offering a drive round the circuit in his Ferrari F430 Spyder, complete with flappy paddle gearbox to save you stalling it and embarrasing yourelf. Well it would have been rude not to..! Ah, the noise...! Holding back from the car in-front to let it get ahead, gave you the opportunity to bury the throttle for a second or two of fun. The best bit....cruising through Casino Square (I might have looked like a playboy except most people has probably seen the same Ferrari go round with different drivers every 10 mins) and the tunnel...oh, the noise of the V12 scream bouncing off the walls..! And my grin in the picture said it all!

The auto-exotica being paraded around Casino Square made Ferrari's look ten-a-penny. Bentleys, Lamborghini's, Aston Martins were everywhere but my favourite, and the most beautiful looking car ever (a fact also confirmed by Jereremy Clarkson, and its not often I agree with him!) was the Alfa Romeo 8C.
Oh, and yes I proposed while we were there. Michelle said yes and we drove off into the sunset in our Alfa Romeo 8C and lived happily ever after.... ! One bit of that is a dream...yep, it was raining.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Back to 'Normal'

Back to the RM last week for my first tumour marker blood test since the op. With the recent fire at the RM in Chelsea the Friday clinic, which is not well known for punctuality, was even busier than normal. Frustratingly, I never get my tumour marker results back on the same day, so seeing the consultant was largely irrelevant. He was impressed by the matching scars and sent me off for a chest x-ray which was fine, and also arranged for a CT scan in four weeks. He promised to call with my tumour marker result the next week. Guessing I would not hear anything and I would have to chase them up, I was surprised to receive a call last Monday morning. My tumour marker was normal (or to be precise, 7, with lower than 10 being classed as normal)!! The best news I could have hoped for! I'd already worked out that with the time elapsed since the op, if there was no other source of cancer, then my markers should have dropped back to normal, but hearing confirmation was the news I'd hoped for.

No real cause for rejoice just yet - I've been here twice before and relapsed but at this stage its the best I can hope for - I'll take that for now!

Been back to work for the past couple of weeks, which is another important piece in the normality jigsaw. Its taken a few days to get my brain into gear, I'm a wee bit of the pace after 8 months off - loads to catch up on (or nothings changed, in some respects).

We've booked a holiday to Dubai in Feb - my first holiday for a year. Fingers crossed that is - we don't have great track record of booking holidays we can actually go on for varying medical reasons!!

Thanks for everyone's support. Not out of the woods yet, but the path is a little clearer!!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

"Make sure the scars match!"

"Do you know which bit to take out", seemed a reasonable question (if it were not for the fact that the Royal Marsden were involved). In May I had been aware of two lumps in my right lung - one appeared to be a nodule which had been there sometime, never grown and never appeared active and hence was presumed to be benign. The other had appeared recently and was the focus of my treatment. The subsequent chemo had apparently shrunk the tumour and at my most recent scan it was declared 'hardly visible' (which clearly makes it harder for the surgeon to find). When I was finally admitted for surgery I asked the surgeon if he had seen the scans - the response being a less than inspiring "I'm not sure", but at least he did march off to a computer and brought up my scans on screen. Flicking through the slices of the CT scan he could see nothing but a couple of areas of scar tissue, which he suggested were possible remnants of tumours, and then a small nodule further down my lung that I was pretty sure was the supposed benign lump. 'There it is - I'll whip that out", he declared confidently. I profferred that it may be the benign lump that had been there some time but to no avail. 'I'll take out anything I find" was his parting shot. Less than convinced I did try and contact the consultant from the RM but to no avail, leaving me wholly in the hands of a man I hoped had sensitive fingers.

"Make sure the scars match!" My final request to the surgeon prior to him dissappearing off to the production line, sorry, the theatre, in which he plays the lead role. I was second on his list for the day, leaving an awkward wait between waking up and being prepped, made worse by the fact I was nil by mouth and starving. It was almost midday before they came to take me away. I'd already decided on giving an epidural a go this time round (after deciding on patient-controlled morphine last time). The epidural line into my spine was the only one to go in while I was conscious...........

....woke up in the recovery area of theatre feeling remarkably lucid and pain-free. Then dropped off to awake in the High Dependency Unit about 7pm. Previously the morphine dulled the senses if not all the pain. With the epidural I was wide-awake and pain-free! It was working so well they reduced my epidural to half-flow to prevent my fingers going numb. Tough its doesn't work as well for everybody - the chap opposite was in surgery before me (same op, same surgeon) but was crying out in pain. At first I felt sorry, almost guilty that I was laying there feeling fine and he was in so much pain but as the night wore on my sympathy waned - I couldn't sleep because of his moans, poor chap. In the morning I was instructed to get out of the bed into a chair, a feat more easier than last time - the epidural meant I was far more mobile. After a few more lines removed from varying orifices I walked back to my room, unaided.

The surgeon confirmed he'd removed 5 bits of my lung which were sent for pathology tests. He'd had a good rummage (god knows how he managed to get his hands in) and basically removed anything that moved, or felt the slightest bit abnormal. I trust he left me with sufficient to endure a couple of minutes of physical activity at the very least.

It was difficult to gauge how much pain the epidural was masking. The nurses tested the extent of the epidural scientifically by placing an ice-cube on varying points on my back and checking whether I could feel it. Gradually the effect was reducing and the pain increasing to the point where two days later they turned off the epidural pump and swapped me onto morphine pills and two days later I was discharged, my main side-effect being one of constipation from the morphine. Yep, cancer is a pain in the arse!

....and yes, my scars match!!