September was a good month for me, I was feeling a bit more myself, I felt like I was starting to wake up again, that my brain was finally starting to kick in to life, and that I could actually think. The sort of brain fog effect from the treatment was lifting. I was getting to be more active, to be more alert, my girlfriend and I started to get out a bit more and things just seemed to be happening again, finally!
October was another good month for me. One of my best friends had her 30th birthday, I was delighted to be there, and one of the significant memories of that night was that I was there until 11:45pm. It sounds fairly tame but for me I couldn’t believe I made it to that time without my body totally crashing. It really seemed significant, I began to wonder if my body was finally picking up after being off steroids for a good 4 months.
The next morning I was up and out for a bit of a jog and I felt fine, even after having been up “so late” the night before. Was this the turning point? Friends of mine had come all the way from Germany to see me at the start of this month and I actually found it really difficult to hang out with them for the few days because my body just wasn’t quite up to it, I was still so tired. I really enjoyed seeing them but I had to manage the hours so much just to be able to see them while they were here, but now at the end of the same month things felt like they had changed.
On the 16th of October I began my first week of walking 5 days a week, they weren’t long but the physio wanted me walking more frequently to help with the problems I was experiencing with my muscles, hopefully this was the beginning of my return to running, it felt great to be structuring my week with 5 days of exercise again, it felt like I was getting back to business.
I always knew I had a full body scan coming up, but it wasn’t due until at least January or February, so I boxed away any thoughts I had about it and tried not to think about it. I just had it in my mind to enjoy Christmas at home this year and then deal with the thoughts of the scan in the new year. The worry at the back of my mind was that it was a year ago when I relapsed, so the anxiety was hard to push aside.
It was a Thursday, I got a phone call from the hospital, it was the radiology department ringing me to confirm my full body scan on Monday. I went in to a bit of shock, asking what scan and explained that nobody had discussed it with me. They told me that my specialist had requested it and that was it. I was definitely taken aback seeing as I wasn’t due to have one until the new year. It’s not a good thing to have sprung on you, a full body scan to determine if your cancer is back or not is definitely something you need to be prepared for, mentally and physically. You might think it’s better because it’s short notice so there is less time to think about it, but I found that I needed the time so that I could prepare for it mentally.
My girlfriend was only home from a 2 week holiday and now I had to tell her that I have a full body scan after the weekend, the day before her birthday, talk about an awful thing to return home to after a lovely holiday abroad, I really didn’t want to tell her about it at all but I had to.
Monday came, here we go, another scan, more fear, more anxiety, more upset. I hate the machines, the whole process, and I’ll be honest, the person in there setting me up for the scan really didn’t make me feel comfortable or at ease at all so it was just an awful morning. Sometimes I wonder if some staff forget about the severity of the situation for patients, and how patients must feel when they come in for a scan, what the scan represents for a patient. Is it that staff are just doing a job they have become so accustomed to doing every day that they start to forget about what the scan represents for patients? Perhaps it affects them personally and they don’t want to really acknowledge much about it, either way I got it done and got out of there. As far as I know I would be having full body scans every 3-6 months for the first two years post transplant so it was just something I was going to have to deal with when they arose. One thing I said I would ensure going forward was to make sure I knew exactly when my scans were planned for.
The last time I had the full body scan my transplant nurse phoned me on the same day with my all clear, so then you start to wonder. Would she call me today? I waited. She called me last time and she knows I’m shook up about this scan so I’m sure she will. If she doesn’t call me does that mean it’s bad news? She did it last time so she will. I’m actually not the only patient in the hospital, I’m not the only patient waiting for such big news, if she doesn’t call me it’s because I am not the only patient in the hospital and it’s normal! She didn’t call.
On to Tuesday and off I went for my hospital appointment, I was dreading it, driving in to hospital to find out if your cancer is back or not. All the questions and possibilities come to mind, it’s been about a year since I relapsed and I only lasted 9 months the last time so I was really praying for good news this time. I went up to the ward and while standing in line to check in, my post transplant nurse was walking past and saw me, she put her hand on my shoulder and said “it’s all good”. I was like what!? “You got the all clear”. She put me out of my misery there and then, I didn’t have to wait hours more until my appointment with my specialist. I really was in shock. Delighted. I had told my girlfriend that I wasn’t due to get my results until later in the week, so when she got home I came out to meet her and told her the amazing news, getting to tell her I got the all clear on her birthday certainly made my day, even though I did steal her thunder.
Time to celebrate the amazing news, again, and her birthday, the rollercoaster continues.
NEXT BLOG: Christmas 2017