Right then, where do I start with 2017? We're two weeks in and already the hope of seeing the back of last year has dissipated. Everything is still on fire, you've probably already given up on your resolutions and later this week a perma-tanned gaslighter will be leader of the free world. Awesome eh?
My cheery demeanour comes from the news that I've got to have more treatment, most likely starting later this week. The biopsy came back on my (successful) surgery and my germ-cell cancer has started to transform. I'm not quite understanding the exact micro cellular science behind it but it seems my teratoma has changed in one of the nodules that they removed in the surgery. It's now snappily called a Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumour (Transformation) or PNET for short (Oncologists love an acronym). So we have to fight this with different chemotherapy drugs and I'll be back as an inpatient in Barts.
The fun cocktail of poisons this time around will be Vincristine, Ifosfamide and Doxorubicin. As my arm veins are buggered from so much other Chemo, I've had a Portacath fitted. It's an internal cannula that sits under the skin on the right side of my chest. This involved a minor surgery last Wednesday and with the help of a generous amount of laughing gas and some local anaesthetic it wasn't too painful. As I'm going to have three cycles of chemo (one every three weeks) with up to 5 days in Barts at a time, this little device can be used to give me all my drugs and also to take bloods. This will save my arms from being killed and can stay in for the whole treatment schedule. It does feel a little weird as you can feel it under the skin. As long as it doesn't turn into a monster that's going to burst out of my chest alà 'Alien' I'm good with it.
So that's the reason I'm in a bit of a funk these last couple of weeks. Tentative plans on looking for new work and travelling to see friends are now on hold until the spring. I can't do any decent planning until I'm well again, and I've no idea when that will be. This all feels like one of those perception bending MC Esher drawings where you're rolling a boulder up a hill until the end of time. It's unforgiving and never ending. In the middle of writing this I've just had a call from the hospital for another scan tomorrow morning. As I say this stuff is never ending.
Anyhoo I'm still trying to practice some self care and do something nice everyday. I'm trying to read more this year and have already got through a couple of books ( My name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout is good, even though it's set in a hospital) and I'm trying to cook new fun things which will give me some strength and nourishment. My local library has an amazing selection of cook books and so I'm going to start working my way through them. I've started easy with a Nigel Slater's and Bake off's Nadiya Hussain. Also I want to see more films so off to see La La Land later today. I hope if you're trying to do something new / better this year you keep at it. Skipping a few days does not mean failure!
In the wise words of Alan Bennett "Keep on, Keeping On" it's the most we can do in these dark days.
Currently I'm watching.. Taboo - Tom Hardy's passion project in a realistically grim looking East London.. listening to Soundtracking - Edith Bowman's film score podcast - Reading Storm in a Teacup by Helen Czersky a look at everyday applications of physics (trying to up my science learning!!