I suppose Malta has been a dry run for longer trips further down the line. It’s been a good opportunity to review my health out and about.

My biggest mobility issue at present is standing up or sitting down. It’s a slow process. Getting out of my plane seat was particularly awkward and I wasn’t much faster getting myself out of the car. I think this actually improved as the trip progressed though. The main issue seems to be what I could best describe as a minor strain in my spine. L4 was half destroyed on the scans I’ve seen, L5 was completely destroyed and replaced with cement by my surgery last October. The sacrum has also been impacted. I have a new scan due at the end of the month which may be able to demonstrate bone regrowth. Hopefully!

Fortunately there’s no sign of the shooting multiple sciatic pains that blighted my summer and autumn last year but which disappeared when I commenced the afatinib. There is, in its place, what I’d best describe as a dull blur of pain on the right side of my lower back, hip and right femur. Very occasionally I’ll take a naproxen anti-inflammatory to control it. Better than the four drug cocktail I was using!

The afatinib itself has side effects. I’ve not had to make a mad dash to the porcelain while I’ve been away and my chest rash has been mild at worst. My acne has remained fairly mild compared to what it was when it first appeared but I still succumb occasionally to the halcyon days of teenage spot destruction.

The Bell’s palsy hasn’t improved much. I had thought I’d blinked in the early hours of Sunday morning but I must have imagined it. The right eye has remained open throughout and did give me an issue driving when the sun appeared on Tuesday. I’ve not noticed my smile droop at all which is positive, but I’m still nowhere near giving an even toothy grin with only the left side of my lips parting.

My right nostril has been misaligned slightly and has been stinging quite badly at times. There appears to be a split in the tissue in the nostril which is healing and then tearing again.

All in all there’s nothing too dramatic to report and as long as I don’t overdo things I’m pretty much fine.

Scores on the doors:
Time since diagnosis – 3 months
Original life expectancy – 9 months
Average life expectancy with afatinib 32 months (29 to go)
Average osimertinib extension (if right for me) – 11 months
Promising immunotherapy trials with total cancer no show – 1
Trips taken – 1
Trips booked – 4

I will be booking more trips. I’m slightly restricted by medical appointments as to when I can travel and I think I’ve established a way that I can get a prescription supplied early if I’m away at times that don’t align to the NHS! My main restriction is self imposed. I like watching the football with my lad. So until the season ends Sunday to Friday mini breaks are the order of the day!