Thursday, 10 November 2011

He ducks, he dives - Round 3

Mental preparations at 7:30am for Round 3
Moniek, Ellie and I pitched up at Dr Karmen's clinic before the staff had arrived. I'd had a rough night, with very little sleep, and was actually relieved when small nurse told me I would be in the bed again. She seemed to know something I didn't.

My summary of symptoms was completely normal, and she already had the antidotes laid out on the bench. These girls don't miss a trick.

She opened my chest-pipe and primed me with a large syringe's worth of hiccup serum. With just one 'hic', I reckon I'm starting to build my credibility in this hidden underground chemo culture (it's actually on the 5th floor, out of the lifts, turn right, 2nd office on the left - the one with the wonky oil paintings and angel/cherub statues all over the place).

Mo & Ellie waved me a cheerful goodbye and went of for a nice walk around the botanical gardens next door.

As soon as the first drips of my cocktail hit my veins, I passed out. Small nurse woke me up every 40 minutes for a blood-pressure test, and precisely swapped my chemo bottles according to Dr Karmen's precise schedule. I had many vague pisses at vague times.

I woke up alert some hours later with a craving for U2. St Bono's lyrics in 'Walk on', 'Kite' and 'Sometimes you can't make it on your own' took on new meaning, and small nurse discretely brought me a box of tissues. Cancer nurses must see a lot of tears.

Macho defences down, in for a penny, in for a pound ... 'Time' by Pink Floyd massively influenced my life, and I've hardly frittered a day since I first heard it 25 years ago. Choriocarcinoma has made me shorter of breath, and God only knows how many days closer to death. I was pulling tissues like a magician pulls hankies from a hat. The segue into 'The great gig in the sky' was divine. How those 3 women express so much about life and death in 4 minutes and 47 seconds - without saying a single word - I will never know. I'm just so glad they do. 
Wait 'til you see the main course!

Moniek, yet again, saved the day with her beautiful smile and a chilled pint of some healthy hippy drink. Small nurse said the big boss wanted to see me before I left, and my heart sank.

Dr Karmen studied my fan of papers on her desk and pushed her tortoiseshell specs upwards. She wants to consult with some eminent colleagues about my exceptional progress. I seem to be whacking Chorio so fast that she's considering reducing my 9-week programme to 6. Wow. Chorio must be KO'd, and we can't take any chances with an 8-count, but I don't appear to be a typical opponent. Even if I stay on the original 9-week programme, the fact that she's even considering this approach has given me a huge boost. Watch this space.

She enquired about my opinions on how this remarkable situation had arisen. I didn't need much time to think: 'I've got strong will-power, a firm faith in God, superb doctors and nurses, and my family and friends are cheering me on'. 'Hmmmm', she nodded in agreement, 'we should talk about this more another day' and shook our hands as we rose from our seats. Back at the apartment, Moniek fed me veggie burgers and switched on some film with Nathalie Portman in different ballet frocks - and I forgot about cancer for 90 minutes.

The time has gone, this blog is over, thought I'd something more to say ...


  1. Nice - I also have a handy box of tissues on my desk, normally used when eating lunch or for snuffly noses but not ashamed to say to wipe the odd tear away. It's amazing how a few song lyrics can turn the most harden man into a big girls blouse! Come on the Rickster, keep up the good work!

  2. This really is the most fantastic news. I know we can't get our hopes up too much, but every boost is one day closer to kicking Chorio's ass.
    Hope you manage to get a better night's sleep tonight, and for Moniek's sake I hope you remember how resiliant you can be next time you come down with man flu or Tuborg-ulosis.

  3. I'm liking the tortoiseshell Doc, seems to take it all in, make a rational decisions & dismiss you with a subtle Hmmmm. Count down & potential chemistry classes reduced to 6 weeks. Whatever way you want to look at it, superb.

    As for the tracks, I always find Feeder brings up the positive side of life. No need for tears when Buck Rogers is around. I may also draw your attention to Nickleback's Animal. Focus on the lyric about controlling how fast you go just by squeezing, that may bring a few more tears to your eyes!

  4. Rick,

    And there was I looking forward to you coming home for a while and Trev goes and lands that on me. How can you be sick? You’re so much healthier, fitter, stronger, not to mention better looking and with a better looking women to snugly up to. Remember this is only the beginning, and the fight is just starting, but if anyone can beat this thing it’ll be you. I’m reading your blog at the moment and look forward to reading updates, sounds a little sick doesn’t it because it should never have happened, but I do look forward to reading about your improved condition.

    Needless to say but whatever you need you’ll be sure to get as they are too many people out there rooting for you and who would do anything to help.

    Thinking of you and wishing you all the very best mate.

    God bless…
    Jason Short

  5. Try Pink Floyd 'is there anybody out there'. Too true! My ISP has throttled back our broadband. Hence the poor Skype link.

  6. When I arrived in Nepal, just after my heart attack, Vishnu said this song is for Mum,I thought great an Elvis number,(you took me to the stage) no it was Knock Knock Knocking on heavens door, didn't know whether to cry or dance. I danced, (badly as usual). Keep to the music.

  7. Pleased to hear your fighting spirit is working wonders. popped a CD in the post today, with a few tunes that sprung to mind, hopefully with you in a few days - all a bit old school, but not done this blogging malarky before. Off to Amsterdam tomorrow with Aido and a few Irish lads, for a few days of sightseeing - will toast the Bluebird and every other familiar sight. Hopefully wont have our room broken into and computers pinched this time! Look forward to revisiting with you sometime soon.
    If looking to fill 90 mins: saw "a life in a day" last night - beautiful stuff. debbie sends her love. Big love to Moniek - see you both Feb

  8. Fantastic news Rick, on ya!

    Keep the emotions flowing mate (cry, sing, shout or dance - chest tube permitting!)it's a good thing!

  9. You are and always have been AMAZING!! this news had me dancing around the kitchen with the dog today...all beit to "moves like Jagger' Maroon 5, but that's what was on the radio at the time!! Looking forward to my next impromptu boogie around the kitchen!! If anyone can do this YOU can! SNAP x

  10. We echo Jason's message Mate. What a blow to hear your news but heartened to hear the treatment is going well.
    We are all rooting for you here and absolutely convinced you can kick this thing.
    I was going to crack a joke about Graeme and tissues but he won't let me.
    Sending oodles of love from Nottingham.
    Cath, Graeme, Heather and Grace