The conversation with Oncobabe only went as far as Australia. Other destinations weren’t discussed. But her message was clear – I’m not going to Australia.
The door may have been left slightly open, the final discussion is just over two weeks off, but the idea of flying, suffering low white blood cell count, developing an infection and needing a rapid application of IV antibiotics several hours before landing wasn’t something she favoured.
As I pick through my itiniary, ensuring I can get some money back from bookings made in January, it crosses my mind that this new osimertinib drug is effectively a flight ban. Now granted, cars and tunnels open up opportunities. Cruise ships have medical facilities. “Travel in hope” doesn’t close down because of this.
So I do need more clarity from Oncobabe as to the limits of travel. And I’m assuming she can’t actually ban me from doing anything.
30th October will be an interesting discussion. “I’m going to Australia and need two months of osimertinib” might yet be met by a “well you can only have one”. That’s me snookered. Or murdered!
It seems I have a 30% chance of low white blood cell count. And presumably that’s not a guarantee of infection. Although planes and their air conditioning might not be the best way to avoid a problem.
I’m balancing up a 30% risk of something nasty happening, which is probably lower in truth, against obtaining a dream that the credit crunch pinched by screwing the values of my 2008 share options.
Now if it was 30% v guaranteed death in a few months anyway I’d probably take the risk. Finland takes EHIC. Australia has a reciprocal medical arrangement with the NHS. Qatar have doctors and billing systems.
But the conundrum in my head is around developing treatments. This morning I’ve read about a trial of five new drugs that can further extend life. Osimertinib trials recorded 2% of patients tumour free after a year – no idea what’s happened to them since. Small numbers, but they could be me. Other treatments and breakthroughs could be around the corner. No point being dead before accessing them!
The last few years have seen so many lung cancer breakthroughs and it seems that more are due. Notwithstanding the rather unpleasant fact that 60% of those diagnosed at the same time I was are no longer with us.
It’s a tough conundrum. I don’t want to disrespect what is doubtless good medical advice. I don’t want to leave my family the job of getting me back (dead or alive) from an overseas medical emergency. But I’m looking at the 70% no risks statistic and thinking it’s one worth taking. If I can take enough pills with me.
My mind isn’t made up one way or the other.