Oncologist First Meeting Feb 2021 Part 1 Blood Test
First post of 2021
2021 and not a good start to the Year. Ireland is still in lockdown with the highest level of restrictions in place. Covid has not gone but we only have ourselves to blame. Countries like Australia and New Zealand have as good as eliminated the spread of Covid. How & Why ? It’s such a simple answer – they locked everything down, flights boarders shipping. And it worked. As an island Ireland could have done the same but they didn’t and here we are a year later and still trying to fight the spread of Covid. They can’t even properly restrict movement within Ireland- a so called 5klm maximum travel restriction- not enforced or controlled. I’m in isolation but I know a lot of people who are travelling 100’s of miles for none essential reasons. As I was just about to finish this article it looks like Ireland will be in extended lockdown till Easter (4th April). I’m feeling quiet annoyed over this as it will be officially a year in isolation on the 9th of April)
Sorry needed the rant.. I’m in isolation since April 2020, almost a full year. In late September 2020 I was laid off under agreement with the company- I had successfully run the business from home for 6 months and had my oncologist agree to splitting my working week between home and the office. Unfortunately the company wanted me in the the office full time and this led to a situation that could not be resolved.
Second rant over.
Isolation is not easy, I felt I could manage 6 months but 10 months so far is really testing me both physically and mentally. With the addition of been unemployed at 58 thanks to Covid I can add financial worries to the list. The saving grace part is that I have been renovating the house. All current renovations are not cosmetic- they are all big jobs. Right down to the rafters. The last full day off was New Year’s Day. When I’m finished the current project I have another two planned.
Even with all that I’d still love to get back to work and this will be a primary question for my oncologist.
The second question will be about a vaccine
In August I was told I would never get the vaccine because of the stem cell transplant as the vaccine posed a 6 times greater chance of death for me. I’m willing to take that chance. In March 2017 I was told that I would most likely not survive the initial ICE chemotherapy but I did. In July 2017 I was given 6 hours to make whatever calls I needed to, and I crawled my way back from death. So I’m hoping to convince my oncologist to trial the vaccine on me.
Blood Test 3rd of Feb 2021.
First blood test of 2021. Had this a week earlier that normal as they added an extra test that will take 10 days to return results. It’s been a long battle against Lymphoma I was first diagnosed on Valentine’s Day 2014, 7 years ago. I’m in remission now over 3 years (I was placed in full remission in March 2018 and classed as Cancer clear). I never changed my oncologist- he is the same doctor that diagnosed me and said those 3 simple words that changed everything in my life “You Have Cancer”. Three aggressive courses of Chemotherapy, 4 weeks of the highest level of radiotherapy and a full stem cell transplant later over 3 years and I’m clear. Looking at the bigger picture I have spent more time in remission than battling cancer, and long may that last. All that and the only thing that really stopped me was Covid. Now I need to get this settled so I can get back to business- I can do a lot from home but I found that I needed to be face to face with my team. Even 20 hours the other 60 from home would work.
And now it’s down to the meeting on 25th February 2021 – so there will be a Part 2 to this article which I will write on the 25th
I’m releasing this on 14th February Valentines Day, Anita’s birthday. And 7 years to the date that I was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma
So Happy Birthday Anita
Got a few messages asking about the renovations… just to clarify as I covered the plans in previous articles. I bought the house in June 2019. I have renovated most of the house over 2019 and 2020. The house is about 115 year old and had little in the form of improvements since 2004. Upstairs there were 4 bedrooms kinda 4 en-suites. Bedrooms 1 & 2 were cosmetically improved in 2019. Bedrooms 3 & 4 were poor to say the least. Bedrooms 3 had damaged floors, the en-suite couldn’t be used as it leaked. The bedroom was a standard tight double. Bedroom 4 was small about the size of a single bedroom- the so called en-suite had floor water damage, the electrics we’re iffy and there was a smell of stale water. These rooms were all gutted. What was bedroom 3 is now a large kingsize bedroom, the en-suite was removed, bedroom 4 is now a walk in wardrobe. The en-suite from bedroom 4 was extended and is now a large master bedroom en-suite. Work included gutting, re wiring, fully insulating the attic, move and extend the attic door. Insulated the floor, replaced all floorboards, new plumbing to the rooms, new radiators. Water basin to the en-suite with double floor and new ceiling. Fully installed large shower, new toilet and wash hand basin. New lighting system, towel rail vents and fully tiled. New ceiling to bedroom, all walls insulated new electrics, new lighting system. New carpet and fully painted. The walk in wardrobe is nearly finished with built in wardrobes but I need two more to finish it. But we hope to move into the new master bedroom next week- all the work was designed by myself and all the work was done by myself with the single exception of installing the carpet. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together
Oncologist First Meeting Feb 2021 Part 2
Since the blood test I have been a little concerned. Fatigue has returned and taken its toll this week but Monday night my neck swelled. I am anxious about meeting the oncologist even more than normal. Only cancer patients will fully understand the feeling you get prior to these meetings, I am no exception to that. It’s more a psychological issue than anything else, even for someone like me with a positive mind set. There is always a waiting time, it’s when the oncologist is running over their notes – my file is like an encyclopaedia. Notation was vital as it was charted as a rare case due to the attack on my right eye. I was 51 when diagnosed in 2014, Stage 4 B Hodgkins Lymphoma Multiple Sites with spread to liver, right lung (vital organs) and secondary to throat and right eye. But the waiting is the difficult part.
Psychological issue relates to mental health, an area of extreme interest to me. All going well at this meeting my next article will be based on mental health
But the fact that I have been isolating since April 2020 has not helped my psychological wellbeing. Prior to this meeting I was already considering the fatigue as more Covid related than Cancer. My neck has swollen more than once over the past 3 years and they tend to blame the massive level of radiotherapy in 2014, with long term nerve damage to the area. But there is still a dark area inside my brain that screams prior to these meetings.
Of course none of this is helped by the fact that on Monday morning my mobile rang, the caller ID was my oncologist…
I have the oncologist landline and mobile number stored under his name. But luckily it was his secretary calling to confirm procedures due to Covid for the meeting today. Monday afternoon I changed his ring tone. This is so I know who it is before I look at the screen. And the selected ringtone “The wonderful Wizard”
Because, because, because, because, because
Because of the wonderful things he does
what can I say…..
I was initially diagnosed on the 14th of Feb 2014, so 7 years and 11 days later
Thursday 25th of February 2021
And here we go.
Blood test results
First of all my oncologist was in fantastic humour. Before I got in the door he said “Ian your blood test were amazing, we have records of test taken long before you were first diagnosed that we’re not as good as these. I have never seen a transformation like this”
Then a full physical examination “just keeps getting better. Physically your in better shape than someone 1/2 your age.” Oh my “there is absolutely nothing to suggest that you are not completely clear. Whatever your doing keep doing it”
And it gets better…
I have a green light and he has placed me into Group 4 . Group 4 for high risk to Covid due to Stage 4 Lymphoma. He asked me to contact my GP as soon as possible to organise vaccination.
And it gets even better…
Once I have received the first and second injections I can return to fully time work 3 weeks later.
All so powerfully positive
We discussed the swelling to my neck and he felt that this would be a long term effect of radiotherapy. I should only be concerned if the swelling stays inflamed or painful.
Fatigue He sat back and looked straight into my eyes. “Ian we dragged you through hell and back, we administered the most aggressive levels of Chemotherapy and radiotherapy on you. We they done a full stem cell transplant. On 3 occasions you were classed as terminal but by some miracle you not only survived but fully recovered. I have nicknamed you a Chemo Monster, but the reality’s that you have exceeded all expectations. The fatigue could be battle stress, not only have you unbelievable beaten a chronic level of Cancer twice but you recovered to return to work. Even then you were forced into isolation for the last 10 months. Fatigue or PTSD it doesn’t matter it is my belief that you will beat this.”
He wants to see me after I get the booster Covid injection and in particular before I return to a working environment.
I really can’t explain how fantastic I felt leaving his office. 3 1/2 years in remission
This meeting has changed everything and all for the better….