Almost 2 months have sifted through my fingers. I needed a break and have just returned from sunnier climes back to the autumnal glaze of the beautiful British isles.
So in this moment, it’s the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend – happy times!
I’m popping on my cardi and slowly rotating the thermostat to hear that satisfying ‘click’ that the heating will kick in very shortly.
Beginning to run my winter checklist through my head – gloves, scarf, heavy jacket, umbrella and the nearest open fire I can find – cold but cosy times ahead which we have to embrace.
I went to see my oncologist over a month ago now for the results of my 3 month post MRI scan.
Great news – I am in remission! The scans are very thorough and it also showed up a lymph node in my chest. The Doc said that the likelihood of being a connection with my head and neck is remote which was good to hear. I guess, if there was a real cause for concern there’d be an immediate follow up.
My chest is somewhat prone to bronchial troubles now and then which may be the reason for the flagging up of the chest node. We forget just how amazing our body is, continually fighting infection and working away 95% of the time to keep us moving. The lymph glands are no doubt firing up all the time keeping us free from any nasty things potentially lurking within.
I will now return to the Ear Nose and Throat consultant at my local hospital for a monthly check.
A CT scan will be arranged for January just to see what’s what. Yes, it’s a slight cause for concern but you have to trust the doctor. Of course, that’s not to say I won’t mention it to the ENT doctor and keep a close check on how I’m feeling.
On the whole, I am feeling thankful, fortunate, and most of all I count my blessings, daily.
I look back and count the weeks that have passed. How poorly I was, how weak I was, how withdrawn I was, but how hopeful I was too.
It’s still early days but those ‘early’ days of treatment feel like a chapter of time I’d like to erase in many ways. I handed back a huge big bag of medications to my local pharmacy to dispose of (anti-sickness & constipation pills through to pain killers ranging from paracetamol to morphine) I had them lying around just in case I needed them. They haunted the corner of my room where they sat and I wanted to be rid of them – that’s how I felt in a moment and I did exactly that.
I thought somehow that all the events of this year would clarify and underline things in my life – that I would feel enlightened, or charged or infused with another energy or drive to make my step into the here and now and beyond somehow clearer.
I have had a few mad weekends of immense energy with the desire to sort, sift and clear things up around me, but also in my head. As I sit and reflect, it feels like writer’s block. I don’t know what to think, say, or do in many respects.
Am I trying to come to terms still with what’s happened? Trying to make sense of the big black cloud that enveloped me and is now thankfully disappearing into the background – but where do I go from here? What do I do now?
I’ve always been a restless soul and now I feel more of a restless soul in many ways. It’s hard to establish a sense of what now. Have I ever really done that before in terms of my life and the bigger picture of one’s own mortality? About making the most of each day and perhaps planning some big adventures I’ve longed to do, or actions that will somehow help make a difference to other people’s lives.
Maybe it’s about me making some sort of a mark in my life – having a real sense of stepping out my comfort zone and acting upon strong wishes, or desires that I have held at bay, restrained from my own daily reality of routine and responsibility.
Putting my cancer under the microscope and understanding the ‘reality’ of HPV – Human Papilloma Virus. A virus that is rife and runs through all our lives without even a thought most of the time.
I’d like to, if I may, just bring to your attention the current battle to get boys vaccinated against HPV.
There is a website called http://www.hpvaction.org where there is a parliamentary petition that can be signed called “ IT’S TIME TO VACCINTE BOYS AGAINST HPV INFECTIONA AND CANCER – SEPTEMBER 2014.
There are a mere 2000 signatures so far and a further 92,000, I understand, are required.
It’s well worth a read to understand the key facts: (Taken from the website with the necessary link)
HPV (human papilloma virus) is very common and most men and women get HPV at some time in their lives. HPV usually never causes any health problems but, for some people, infection with HPV can lead to the development of certain cancers (cervical, vulval, vaginal, penile, anal, head and neck) as well as genital warts. About 5% of all cancers are caused by HPV infection.
HPV vaccination at the age of 12/13 can significantly reduce the risk of developing disease and vaccinating both sexes provides the highest level of protection. In the UK currently, only girls are vaccinated through a national programme generally delivered in schools.
Australia has recently started to vaccinate both boys and girls.
Boys should now be included in the UK vaccination programme:
• To protect as many women as possible from cervical cancer.
• To protect both men and women from other HPV-related cancers.
• To protect both sexes from genital warts.
It is unethical to exclude males from a straightforward, risk-free and relatively low-cost health programme that would prevent cancers and improve sexual health.
This petition has been organised by HPV Action, a partnership of 22 patient and professional organisations that all believe both boys and girls should be vaccinated. For more information about HPV Action: http://www.hpvaction.org. Twitter: @HPVAction
Donations to support HPV Action’s work are very welcome and can be made via JustGiving: http://www.justgiving.com/HPVAction
I wish to bring my story and concern to the attention of the local press in the weeks ahead to bring this to light and help educate a public who may have absolutely no idea about HPV. You then read about it and realise that this is something big and growing insidiously.
I feel like I’ve just administered a party political broadcast and hope you don’t mind me sharing my concern with you. If you feel the need to drop me a line at any time regarding this please do. My knowledge is limited but what I have gone through and read about means that I will try to do whatever I can to bring it to people’s attention, in any way I can.
For now, I will count my blessings each day and just try to regain strength, weight and energy to battle on like we all do- oh yeh!!
Finally, Christmas is coming – oh yeh to that too I hear you cry!…no, please don’t cry, it’s not that bad is it…???
I popped into our new local Waitrose yesterday evening when it was quiet and stumbled across a packet of 9 mini short crust mince pies ( I’m quite particular about me mince pies you know) – these hit the spot – ding dong!!
I’ll be selling you car insurance next…
I hope that my ramblings find you all in good spirits.
Take care, big hugs and speak soon.