Thursday, 17 November 2011

Cold turkey and ravioli sandwiches

Don't panic! I'm still alive.

It seems that this Choriocarcinoma bollockus really is exceptionally rare, so Dr Karmen has been consulting with international colleagues about my case. The larger of my lung tumours is a bit bigger than first thought (5mm x 3mm), and Chorio is a nasty little bugger, so they're not taking any chances. Maybe I'll make it onto the cover of Cancer Today or something (apparently the title's strapline is 'because there may not be a tomorrow'). The doctors will also monitor my brain in future for any previously undetected signs of normality.

Highly detailed pro/con emails about the possibility of 4 chemo cycles were considered by eminent scientists in Australia and the USA. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, others were debating the toffee/chocolate dilemma in a tin of Quality Street. Eventually, consensus was reached that (a) 3 cycles of chemotherapy appears optimum for my case and (b) the gold coins are definitely bad for your teeth.

I had soundly slept or dizzily daydreamed through my first chemo cycle. I listened to a lot of great music, warmed and comforted by the fact that my family and friends were listening to the same tunes somewhere in a different time zone. My hands felt like two balloons and I had, indeed, become 'comfortably numb'.

The Chorio count in my blood has decreased again to 99.8, which is obviously great news, and the fact that there's even a decimal point involved gives me huge encouragement. I'm more used to numbers with a lot of zeros on the end. My blood seems to be in remarkably good shape, and Dr Karmen commended my 'best ever' tolerance for PEB chemotherapy. They say pride comes before a fall, and I now regret feeling so chuffed.

The de-tox from PEB has been the worst experience of my life. By a fucking mile. Torrents of burning-freezing sweat, hallucinations, knife-twisting stomach cramps, ice-pick headaches, oozing skin sores ... my body and spirit being torn apart. John Lennon described it better than I ever could:

I'm OK now. I've bounced back, and Moniek made me ravioli sandwiches for breakfast this morning. I can deal with 2 more cycles, but some of the people I see in the clinic have been taking chemo for years - many with no hope of recovery. I really am a lucky by comparison. This beautiful song by The Verve reminds me how fortunate I am.

I can't reply to everyone's emails, but I'm so uplifted to read comments from old friends, and that so many people share so much joy and inspiration from music. Today's bedtime song, a Paul Weller masterpiece, is for Mo. Turn it up to 11, mum:


  1. Hmmmmm.. oozing skin sores eh? I might see if I can get a refund on my flight.

    Very, very glad to hear you are turning the corner on the de-tox though, it sounds like absolute hell. Also glad to hear that you've also been able to catch up on the 'Great Quality Street Debate of 2011' - it's been riveting, and would hate to think you missed out on that one!

  2. We were not expecting a blog for days.Well done!
    What do you mean 11, mine's usually at 20, that is why I open the windows, the house would shake otherwise, also I like the whole Glen to hear good music.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about the hell you've been through. I'll google wings of speed. I'm no good with numbers but even I recognise the great news in such a huge drop. Thinking of you.

  4. Fan bloody tastic on the count down or down count?!!! I am equally wishing away all these horrible side effects for you matey. You realize you are going to have to make an appearance 'down under' after your treatment is done - so we can give you all the hugs we're saving for you!
    Enjoy the ravioli sarnies.
    lots a love
    The Levs

  5. Second that, stuff the fall after pride, positivity always wins(Rowena tells me this all the time)!!!

  6. Your Dad's musical behaviour reminds me of that small stereo system we had in Flat7 :) I'm sure the surrounding high society were very grateful for our contribution to the peace and tranquility of the park, although no one ever seemed to thank us....strange that?

  7. Most excellent progress (in an odd de-tox hell way). Trust the ravioli sandwich did the trick (again, not found this in Jamie's book, maybe Nigella).

    I am assuming that 20 is Marshall's response to Fender's 11. It's a competitive, cut throat world out there.

    Just to warn you that Dad may drop in a blog or 2, so apologies now for any oddness that may result, e.g. I think he favours the green coconut one!

  8. Well done Rick my friend. I'm loving the decimal point as well. Keep up the good work. De-fox sounds a right bitch. I mean "torrents of burning-freezing sweat, hallucinations, knife-twisting stomach cramps, ice-pick headaches".....sounds like a night in Notty down the Hippo with a few shots of Wray&Nephews....oh Happy Days :-) now they were GOOD times.