My approach to a terminal diagnosis has been one of pragmatic acceptance.
What do I want to do before i die? How do I make sure the kids are looked after? How do I make the best of things?
I’d like to think, as far as possible, I’ve approached bad news positively. We all die at some point. I’d rather have a bit longer than the mortality charts show. But get the best out of it and be grateful I won’t get too old and suffer in different ways that others do.
Still, today’s visit to Oncobabe had me fearing bad news, possibly for the first time. I’m quite enjoying still being alive. A call asking me to get an X-Ray as I shovelled down a hospital canteen breakfast didn’t help allay my nervousness. I procrastinated over my coffee.
Xray done and I met up with my sister. She’s been a rock. Into the Onco wing and onto the scales. I’m losing two pounds a week on chemotherapy. Not ideal apparently, but no lectures from staff.
Oncobabe quizzes me around the reaction to treatment. Constipation remains my key frustration, although getting myself fit to drive in the days after treatment hasn’t been easy. Spaced out Dave heading your way might not be a good thing!
We then discuss clinical trials. Just before the appointment my sister took a call from the Matrix Trial in Leeds. My biopsy sample from November 2016 is useless. Oncobabe was told a month ago. I held back my anger at the lack of communication as she explained there’s no point giving a new sample until there’s an up to date scan and chemotherapy ends.
Better news that the Trial will perform any new biopsy if they want you. That wasn’t the case a few weeks ago. A discussion around other trials at Christie Hospital and an apparent willingness to refer once they give up on chemotherapy pleased me.
Then the bad news. My X-ray showed a spread of cancer within the lung. It’s always stayed nice and compact up to now. Just attacking me outside of the lung. Suddenly there’s a change. Not significant yet, but bigger. News that hits me quite hard, but at the same time it feels like getting half a step closer to the various trials.
I suppose with that X-ray outcome my initial fear is justified. But somehow, the Trials seems to be more welcoming once my NHS treatments are exhausted.
Maybe it’s a good news day after all. While accepting the near certainty of my early demise, little crumbs of hope still exist. I’ll focus on those.