Monday, 19 October 2015

...and the world stopped turning.

Well it's been a while and I really have no excuse for the past 4 years other than being wary of my employers professional standards types finding some obscure reason to find fault in my ramblings so I'll stick to that excuse meantime.
However I can be excused from the 14th May 2015 the day  I received a telephone call from my Doctor  who informed me without fanfare or due warning that I was suffering from leukaemia and that I was to attend at the Beatson Cancer Hospital the next day at 1000 to Ward B7 for immediate admission. The world stopped turning, the words fell from the page and all that was left was blankness. She assured that they were talking about a total cure and that all the signs were positive, early detection. age etc.etc. My wife and I duly attend the next day (Friday) met with my consultant who informed me that this was a completely random event there being nothing that I had done or didn't do to cause the disease which he confirmed as Adult Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Yes I'd be allowed home for the weekend as my blood counts were still normal and admitted on Monday to start me treatment regime. Yes they were working toward a total cure, age, early diagnoses, fitness, no underlying health issues all pointed toward a positive outcome. No you couldn't go on holiday, so the trip to New England with your sister and her husband in September would have to be cancelled. Yes you will be off work for a considerable amount of time here is a six month sick note for your employer.
I cannot now sit and go through the time I've spent in hospital and the effect the chemo has had on me and my body, suffice to say that within 5 weeks I was in remission and out of hospital, able to visit Perth and family. The out-patient cycle turned into an in-patient cycle, chemo side effects, then repeated lumber punctures led to hydromas being caused on my brain and severe headaches, sickness, nausea, more chemo, ever more chemo, blood tests, more blood tests, more chemo. A visit to the stem cell transplant team at the colloquially know 'Death Star' as the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is called or as folk call it still  'the Southern' as it in the South side of Glasgow, left us both in a state of shock. Being confronted with your own mortality is a very scary and mind altering event, well it was for me, we sat in the car in the car park for 45 mins afterwards wondering if any one ever survived transplants. Date set for the transplant, donor in place, near perfect match apart from the blood group so all good. Back in-patient, more chemo, then home, then pain like I have never felt in my life luckily just as I attended at the day hospital, a quick 10mg of morphine and back in Ward B7 for the weekend sorted the main pain out but still the effects shot through me. Varying diagnoses, it's your duodenum, its damage to stomach due to the retching, nothing to worry about, do you suffer from irritable bowel? All and any of the above it could have been. After a CT Scan it was revealed that it was indeed pancreatitis ( a known but rare side effect from one of the chemo drugs) and that it was now resolving itself. Unfortunately the transplant team decided that the risk was too great to proceed and my transplant would have to be delayed 2-4weeks. So back home, out-patient, slowly the pancreas did resolve, slowly... and after second CT Scan I now await the result and a consult with my Doctor as to where we are going next. Did I mention the dentist? No,  well I'll keep that for the next post.

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