Updated: Oct 12, 2020
"Lewis," bellowed the scouse voice, greeted by a hugely misleading smile, I followed him to his room. Inside the room, the Clinical Nurse Specialist was there. It was an instant feeling of something is up. How right I was...
For context, your interim PET scan should be utterly free of "hotspots" caused by the cancer cells absorbing the glucose. A clear scan would mean that you have shown a complete response to the treatment, and as a result, you would be in remission.
"You still have some hotspots in your neck, so we are going to escalate your chemotherapy to a regime called esc-BEACOPDAC." I was raging, fuming, I couldn't sit in that room any longer with everyone looking at me.
The consultant kindly called the next day to talk me through what was what. He explained that all the other hotspots in my spleen, armpit, chest and right side of my neck had disappeared. He explained the side effects of this new regime; sickness, a likelihood of infertility, hair loss, and that it was a lot more taxing than ABVD. He told me that it would be administered as an inpatient and that I should get a central line fitted (this is a device that goes into a vein In your chest and stays there until treatment is over.) No chance was I agreeing to either. No Way, José. The consultant and CNS managed to convince me to stay for the first cycle, and if I was ok, I could do the remaining three cycles as an outpatient. That would involve four days in the hospital. I reluctantly agreed, noting it was a compromise worth making and in the end it was probably for the best.
Sunday 6th October, I bought a razor and Ewan shaved my head for me. If I was going to lose my hair, I wanted to be in control of when and how I would lose it. Plus, I looked like a cross between Howard Webb and Pierluigi Collina.
I was admitted to Forth Valley on Monday 7th October at 1900 the night before my chemotherapy. I felt ok, not pleased but I got on with it. Plus the Junior Doctor was great; she sat for a bit with me once I was alone and reassured me about what was to come.
That night the noise of trolleys being clattered of walls and people pressing buzzers kept me awake. I put earphones in and played my playlist, which you will all know is quite depressing on the best of days - I couldn't hack it, and so for one night and one night only I'm ashamed to say, I listened to techno. This was not before "High" by the Lighthouse Family came on, the words resonated me, especially the phrase "when you are close to tears remember some day it will all be over" which rung true.