First Oncologist Meeting 2020

Had my blood test on Friday 31 January and meeting with oncologist 6 Feb. This was my first medical meet in 2020. Hard to believe it’s day +907 since my stem cell transplant 13 July 2017. 31 Months ago.

This meeting will mark 2 1/2 years cancer clear. It’s would be a big achievement for the oncology & haematology team

I am now 8 days to go to both the day and date I was first diagnosed Friday 14 February 2014, St valentines Day and Anitas birthday – 6 years ago. We do not have fond memories of 2014 and to be fair we haven’t got fond memories of celebrating that day since, last year was really the first clear day since 2014.BUT this year Anita is 50… so it’s a big birthday.

Before I commence this update I got some terrible sad news on the 5th. A couple Henry & Miriam who have supported my blog since August 2017, Henry was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) in 2017, he battled the disease throughout 2017 2018 and into 2019 but against all odds he got into remission. Following test in Jan 2020 Henry relapsed and prepared to battle Lymphoma again. Henry passed away in the morning of the 5th. A young man & father of two young children tragically taken too early in life. My deepest condolences to Miriam & Family

R.I.P Henry

I asked Miriam for her permission to add Henry to this article. I have just read her reply and it is heartbreaking. I can only pray that this wonderful family can rebuild their lives with the same strength that their father and husband battled Cancer.

The news of Henry’s passing was followed by a mail from a couple in Australia Pete and Libby. Pete & Libby contacted me in Dec 2019 after reading my blog. Pete had relapsed in late Sept to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma. When they contacted me Pete had just completed R-Ice Chemo and was awaiting a date for his stem cell transplant. Pete had his transplant on the 22nd of Jan 2020 and was told that it was successful on Monday 3rd of Feb – he is going home later today or tomorrow. An incredibly achievement. And happy birthday today to Libby

So many losses and so few victories

Tuesday 4th was World Cancer day and this been followed by the tragic loss of Henry whom I honour, is so heartbreaking. And Pete’s ongoing recovery is incredibly. These great men make me feel so humble yet proud to be supporting the fighters and as a survivor knowing the path they walk.

My oncologist frightened the life out of me by calling my mobile on the 4th – he wanted a scan done prior to meeting me “only to tick off a few boxes”. The scan however was a lot more than expected- it covered abdominal, both kidneys, liver, gallbladder and bladder. Not had one this detailed since 2017.

Yet here I am on the 6th waiting to meet my oncologist. Bloods done last week and a scan this morning. The minutes seem like hours and I feel overwhelmed emotionally not because of this meeting but the sheer magnitude of the past 6 years. So so many losses and my own feelings after been declared terminal three times. First diagnosed as Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma on 14th February 2014, remission 2016, relapsed in March 2017 to Stage 4 Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and declared cancer clear in March 2018. Yet here I wait it’s 3pm and I’m next in to see him. A delay in getting the scan results but finally I get to meet the oncologist.

Bit of a list here.

Kidney Stones; Multiple stones in left and a few in the right. I was first diagnosed with kidney stones in the early 90’s and I pass about 25 to 30 a month. Rarely needs medical intervention

Liver My liver and right lung were the Stage 4 of Lymphoma (cancer cells attack multiple lymph nodes and vital organs) My liver had 6 early stage tumours and my right lung had a sizeable tumour to the lower quarter. This scan has showed my liver to be completely clear & healthy

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (Triple A) this was first noted in 2017, classed as not lymphoma related. In 2017 It was 3.6 in 2018 it was 3.8 but they tend not to intervene until it’s greater than 5.5. In Nov it measured 4.2. The oncologist decided to keep an eye on this himself. In the scan today it measured 3.6 cm so it’s not really changed in 3 years, they will monitor this twice a year

Hemiplegic migraine. First attack was in Nov 2019 and classed as not lymphoma related. Over the past few weeks I have had a number of migraine attacks but not hemiplegic. I am been referred back to the Professor who diagnosed me last Nov for further test.

Eye As my right eye was originally attacked during the initial lymphoma attack in 2014 this will continue to be monitored by my ophthalmologist I am meeting him later this month. But the eye appears to have substantially improved most likely because of factors including the injections last year, medication and the fact that I have not driven in the dark since December

Bloods. The issue with my red cell count continues to be down, it’s now considered to be my new normal, nice of them to consider me to be normal. Surprised however to see my immune system is back, finally after nearly 3 years it’s now at 1/2 the normal range. ESR (The erythrocyte sedimentation rate is the rate at which red blood cells in anticoagulated whole blood descend in a standardized tube over a period of one hour. It is a common haematology test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation) this appears to be doubled from my last test, generally this would be a red flag however with my white cells showing normal they have classed this increase as a “false normalpathology consider the fact that I am Multiple  myeloma / multiple Lymphoma  that the balance between ESR and my while blood cells are balanced out and shown no immediate concern however the pathologist wants this examine again in 6 weeks

Lymphoma. I remain both Lymphoma clear and Cancer clear.

Awareness – to conclude this page W.H.O declared a global health warning relating to Coronavirus with 563 deaths from 28,000 cases since Jan 2020

The estimated global death from all sections of Cancer in 2018 was 9.6 million people which is an average of 800,000 every month or 26,300 per day – 18 people died every minute from Cancer. Figures estimate by W.H.O.

60,000 of the 9.6 million were Lymphoma. 9.6 million people is roughly twice the population of Ireland.

I am not underestimating the tragic loss and the danger of CoronaVirus but compared to Cancer I am left speechless.

Today has given me even more strength to push awareness not for myself but for those who have fallen and those who survive.

R.I.P Mr Henry Foster

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