Friday, 24 July 2009

All Clear...Again!!

I had my follow up CT scan on Monday with the intent of checking whether the new 'thing' in my right lung has grown at all. I met Prof. Horwich at the Royal Marsden today and he confirmed that everything seems fine. My AFP tumour marker is still normal and the scan shows no apparent abnormalities in my lungs. They the believe the slight thickening on the edge of the lung picked up on the previous scan is probably scar tissue from my previous surgery - it seems to coincide with the area that I had a drain inserted into the lung.

Panic over! Thanks to all who crossed their fingers...again!!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

John Hartson...our thoughts are with you.

I was shocked and sorry to hear the news that John Hartson, the ex- Arsenal, Celtic and Wales footballer, has been diagnosed with testicular cancer that has spread to his brain and lungs. I understand he has undergone emergency surgery to the brain and remains in critical condition.

I would like to wish John and his family my best wishes at this difficult time and hope they can remain positive and draw strength from the thoughts and support that everyone will give. John has always been know for his strength and fighting spirit and this should stand him in good stead.

I know too well the effect and shock of a sudden diagnosis but he is in good hands. There are so many unknowns but there are also so many experiences from other people to draw inspiration from, in the same way I did.

Unfortunately, its also a salutory reminder that this insiduous disease silently affects so many people, yet only gets media airtime when it affects somebody in the public eye. Every day around the UK there are people being diagnosed and we must ensure that we all do everything can to support the fight against cancer. For that I applaud efforts by people such as Lance Armstrong in his crusade to raise awareness through his LiveStrong foundation and also the efforts of thousands of people across the UK raising money for worthy causes every week, in their own little way. We can all make a difference!

Friday, 22 May 2009

The Verdict

Back to the Royal Marsden today to find out the results of this weeks PET scan. When the consultant popped his head round the door and said "I just need to pop upstairs and see the radiologist, I can't make head or tail of his comments!', I immediately feared the worst. How difficult could "all clear" be to understand? Clearly its wasn't, so I was left hanging for a few more minutes. When he did arrive he still didn't really choose his words that carefully. "The report said the scan showed there was some activity.." Ok, that's not really what I wanted to hear. "...but the scan results were amplified so much that everywhere showed some activity and the activity was deemed to be no higher than normal tissue, so the radiologist has concluded its a negative scan". That's good news! I know he was only trying to explain himself but he really couldn't have managed to give good news so badly if he tried!

The upshot is that I do have a nodule in my right-lung but the PET scan doesn't show it as active. It could be scar tissue from previous surgery or there is a type of my cancer (differentiated teratoma) that does not show on a PET scan. The plan is to have another scan in 2 months to see whether there is any change in size and if so I'll be under the knife again.

More bloody waiting but such is life on remission. Today's news is the best I could of had so I'm grateful for that. Thanks to all who crossed their fingers (and toes) on my behalf and any inconvenience it may have caused!!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Mixed News..

My latest meeting with Prof. Dearnley at the Royal Marsden was to review my recent CT scan and blood test. When he started with the words "It's mixed news..." I knew there was something not quite right. The blood test showed my AFP tumour marker to be normal, however the CT scan showed a nodule on the bottom edge of my right lung. This is slightly unusual in that each previous re-occurence of my cancer has been marked by an associated increase in my AFP levels - which thus far has shown to be a reliable indicator. There is a chance the nodule could be scar tissue from previous surgery or benign but I've been scheduled in for a PET scan to check. Back to the waiting.......should have crossed my toes as well!

Friday, 17 April 2009

The Waiting...

My consultants appointment has been put back to the 6th May, so I'll need to wait a little longer to get the results of my latest scan and blood test. Reckon I'll get cramp in my fingers if they are crossed for that long!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Quick Update

Haven't posted for a while as all's been well and I've been concentrating on my other blog.

I'm due my first post-remission CT scan on Thurday, back at the Royal Marsden.  As usual there's a little trepidation ahead of getting the results (which won't be for another week), but fingers and toes are crossed as ever!! 

Saturday, 17 January 2009

A Mountain High

I've been contemplating the direction of the blog for the past few months. Conscious that as remission is progressing the posts have become less frequent.

Inspired by others blogs, I've re-discovered my passions for the mountains but rather than skew my cancer blog off in another direction I've decided to create a new blog, 'A Mountain High' to chronicle my outdoor exploits.
This will leave this cancer blog truer to its original intent and ensure that its content is visible and accessible to others unfortunate enough to be going through a similar journey themselves. I'll add a link on the right-hand side to each blog so you can flick between them.

My cancer reinforced the need to make the most of your time, do the things you enjoy and not let life pass you by. Hopefully my new blog will help encourage and motivate me to do just that and if in any small way inspires others then even better.

One year and still clear!

On Friday I popped back to the Royal Marsden for a 2-month check-up which primarily relies on checking the AFP levels (a tumor marker which is used as an early indicator of cancerous activity in the case of my cancer-type) in my blood and which were again normal. There is always that awkward few seconds when you realise that the consultant hasn't actually checked you results before he comes into the room, and you can see him scanning down the paperwork to check the latest results. Thankfully they were normal, else his whole demeanour would have to change in an instant.

It was a bit of a milestone since it is now just over a year since my last operation - the longest time I've been cancer-free for 4 years (previously I've re-lapsed at 6 months, both times). Whilst I feel lucky, a visit to the RM is always rather sobering, particularly when I feel so fit and well and yet looking around you are instantly reminded what an insidious disease cancer is, affecting anyone and everyone, each all fighting their own battles, some winning and some not...

My check-ups are moving to quarterly from bi-monthly which means an extra month between having to worry about the results each time - there is a always a tiny bit of you which thinks 'what if'...but so far so good, and that's good enough for me!!