I’ve enjoyed the last six months. Not so much the knowing death is around the corner. But realising I can be a little wilder than the more conservative Dave of the past was. Knowing I can go where I want, when I want without the shackles of work, kids and even conscience.
The last ten days have been different. I woke up a couple of Saturdays back with a pain at the top of my pelvis, on the jutty out bit around the back. The pain mirrored part of my previous cancer experience. It’s back. And it hurts. And for the first time in this process I was depressed.
I rang my hospial’s 24/7 cancer patient helpline. Take painkillers, they suggested. Radical. I waited until the Monday to contact my MacMillan nurse. I suggested a scan. She said come in a week on Tuesday as scheduled and we’ll take it from there.
I should probably have been outraged. Somehow the very British non-excitable approach of the hospital staff calmed me. The panic went. The depression lifted as quickly as it had arrived. Two days later the pain went too.
Was it an impact injury? Or a “you’re getting on a bit these days” standard ache and pain? Or had a tumour grown and then been zapped by the afatinib? I’ll never know for sure.
Friday I gave a lung X-ray and blood sample. Today the oncologist gave me another “clear for now” message. The bloods were good. The X-ray continues to show small evil on the lungs, nothing growing. And my pelvic problem had lifted.
Clearly I don’t know my own body as well as I thought. Mr Paranoid got over excited before he needed to. But it’s a reminder that afatinib is just a stay of execution. That my mind will automatically think the worst. That my positive approach to this illness is worth nothing if I let depression grab me.