Tuesday, 23 November 2010

3rd year and clear!

Well, its not been much of a blog of late, but that because thankfully there had been little to report.  My check-ups at the Royal Marsden had slipped to every 4 months.  My last visit was a couple of weeks ago and despite the usual slight trepidation and sudden conscious niggles and aches that always seem to appear in the couple of weeks beforehand, my tumour-marker blood-test and chest x-ray was normal.  I have a CT scan booked for January and then the Prof is happy that I can go down to 6-monthly check-ups.  Next month will be the third anniversary since my last surgery, so definitely cause to celebrate.

The trip to the Royal Marsden is always a salutary reminder of how many people are fighting their own battles with cancer, struggling with the mental and physical effects, coping with the stress and strain on their family and loved ones, and the courage and fortitude people shown in adversity.  For each good news story there are plenty of others less fortunate and we should all remember them.  Those who do pull through are an important inspiration for others, even they don't know it. Everyone needs that hope and realisation that people can and do get through it. 

I was lucky - testicular cancer has a high clear-up rate (approx. 98% if detected early) and chemotherapy has a high success rate (85%) even if the cancer has spread.  I was in a smaller minority with recurrent secondary tumours in both lungs and high AFP markers and my cancer became chemo-resistant but even so the survival rate for stage IIIc and categorised as intermediate-risk the 5-year survival rate is still around 80%. Three years down, two to go - I'll take those odds, and take each month/year as it comes.