Oncologist appointment today.
The headline health news is that I’ve gained weight (they like this in cancer world), nothing nasty showed up in my blood tests and the NHS now offer a new drug that may be suitable when my afatinib fails me at some point in the future.
In other words, all is good and there’s the possibility of living longer.
Our conversation about medication and holidays was interesting. She can only prescribe 28 days at a time. I’d better not join a six week charity trek across central Africa then! Given that the Chile and Australia plans each involve 25 days out of the country I’m going to have to manage my supplies of prescribed life saving pills carefully!
The potential of a new drug extending my life in the future is really positive. It does, however, mean that I need to budget to make my redundancy money and savings last six years until I can utilise my pension pot. Having blown £10k on things since the turn of the year I might end up breaking the habit of a lifetime in 2021 and start living on my credit cards!
Or I could be radical and get a job when the money runs out.
February 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm
28 days at a time is that a NHS cost issue? I read a brilliant article by the Food critic AA Gill who has sadly just passed with cancer about the NHS during his treatment. I have just added a few lines but will send you the full article if you want “The NHS has one of the worst outcomes for cancer treatment in Europe. It’s something to be borne in mind when you’re deciding to combine chemotherapy with a safari, or want to embark on a bar-thumping argument about health tourism. It was the first question I asked my oncologist, Dr Conrad Lewanski. “Why is this such a bad place to get cancer, when we have lots of hospitals, when we teach doctors from all over the world, when we’ve won more Nobel prizes than the French?”
“It’s the nature of the health service,” he says. “The key to cancer outcomes is the speed of diagnosis and treatment.” The health service was set up with GPs separate from hospitals. The system means you probably have to wait a week or so for an appointment to see first your GP, or a clinic. The average time for that consultation will be seven minutes. Perhaps your cough isn’t a priority. And then if your doctor thinks it does need a second opinion, he’ll suggest you see a consultant, and that’s likely to take a month. If the GP suspects cancer, that referral time is reduced to two weeks. He or she will probably write a letter, often two — all doctors still carry fountain pens.
And then there are all the appointments — for tests, a cancellation, a missed x-ray, a scan — which can put months on a diagnosis. It’s not the treatment, it’s the scale of the bureaucracy and the Attlee-reverential, immovable-but-crumbling structure of a private-public doctor-consultant arrangement, which was the cornerstone laid down by the 1945 government at the insistence of doctors. That is the chronic tumour in the bowel of the system.”