Three months has passed us by since the last time I provided a memorandum of events, and again it would be amiss of me not to mention some key milestones and life events that have been reached in this timeframe.
But firstly, I would like to talk about this blog, its applicability and its motive going forward. I have contemplated how best to approach future posts. Should all remain well – I hope to update this blog at key milestones (1 year and 2 years) including any ad-hoc information that seems pertinent in-between. I don’t envisage (again fingers crossed) many more posts, however this is a chapter of my life that will remain important in the fabric of my being forever, and vital to positively shaping the interactions and experiences one has in the future. I do also note that people enjoy my writing and seek solace in my words - so the webpage will remain there for our generation and future generations to see. Future generations who will probably look back and can’t believe how rudimentary we were, that we couldn’t just cure this trivial thing called cancer with a tablet. Although the idea of writing and sharing experiences is very appealing, and a notion one shall most likely return too - with the imminent re-opening of pubs, restaurants and soon hopefully clubs, I have plenty nights-out and living to catch-up on for the time being.
Secondly, there have been some pretty high-profile cases in the Mainstream Media recently about children who needed a Stem Cell Transplant to treat their blood cancers, but were unable to obtain a matching donor. Every twenty minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with blood cancer, with many then requiring a STC. Only 3% of the UK's population is registered. If you'd like to find out more click here.
Anyway, as some of you may recall, I was due to get Radioactive Iodine (RI) to kill any remaining thyroid cells in my body – this prevents relapse and makes it easier to manage levothyroxine doses, which is the synthetic thyroid hormone I take so I don’t miss out on the benefits of a thyroid. The stuff can have pretty vexatious side effects should one be over-dosed or under-dosed so anything to reach an equilibrium is most welcome.
The RI involves a one-night stay in a hospital room at the Beatson with two-metre-thick walls, not something I was overly concerned about – after all what is one night when you’ve managed twenty-eight! Anything you took into the room with you, except your mobile phone was incinerated to avoid a re-enactment of the Chernobyl boxset in Bo’ness. For the week leading up to the treatment I had to eat a low iodine diet – who knew almond milk was actually alright? As well as getting a jag of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone the two days leading up to admission – thanks to Kara for doing this, the perks of having a nurse as your girlfriend. This RI administration happened on the 10th of March. I took the RI capsule through a straw out a lead bottle – it was no bigger than a paracetamol. Anyway, the usual sleepless night perused, and I was pleased to report no ill effects. I must glow in the dark after this, the chemotherapy and the number of scans I've had.
April 3rd marked my 21st Birthday, a welcome milestone that was celebrated with copious amounts of alcohol and spending the evening curled up with a basin in my bed. I really “can’t handle the scandal” these days. However, the chemotherapy-strength anti-emetics really do help! Thanks for everyone for the well wishes, gifts and donations to my Cancer Research UK fundraiser over on Facebook – we raised £450 before Gift-Aid.
April 11th – I had my second dose of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine and look forward to life when liberties are not curtailed and infringed upon for the benefit of public health.
April 13th – marked six months since my Stem Cell Transplant. 182 days of feeling no lumps and bumps. 182 days of getting back to normality. 182 days of enjoying every-minute. 182 days of new experiences. 182 days down, hopefully a lifetime to go. The Consultant seems to believe my chance of relapse is low and is delighted with my progress – grounds for cautious optimism.
Several of you will be also glad to hear training is going well and I envisage a return to ruining punter’s Saturdays at the start of next season. The offer to anyone who wishes to join me for a session is always standing, no matter your fitness levels – everyone has to start somewhere, and health is wealth! I have missed the abuse and can’t wait to make my first trip over the flints to Linlithgow, where I am always made most welcome from the locals………………
In the meantime, the words I wrote in Part Twenty-three, on the eve of my Stem Cell Transplant are coming to fruition. The world is opening up and calming down – for not just me, but all of you as well. The bad days have continued to grow into good days, even though it was damn well tough. Long may it continue!