Wednesday, 8 April 2015

A week of ups and downs, but mostly ups

It's been a week of ups and downs for Fragile Hope. Last Monday, the news of a second tumour in my brain was very definitely a down - although the absence of any evidence of spread of the cancer to anywhere else in my body offered a little bounce back. The possibility of radical treatment for the brain was certainly looking less likely, though. Since then, it's been a week of waiting - not made easier by some evident  difficulties in communication between the 2 hospitals with which we're dealing - to hear what the team in Preston who are responsible for treating the brain felt they might be able to offer.

Braced for the worst as we drove to Preston yesterday morning, it was wonderful to find ourselves driving home 2 hours later with better news than we'd dared hoped for. We felt almost instantly we could trust both the competence and the kindness of the Oncologist and Radiographer who will be working with us. They are keen to press on with Stereotactic Radiotherapy for both tumours in the brain, confident that the chances are it will produce significant improvement. Incredibly, those fragile little seeds of the word 'eliminate' have not been completely destroyed by the news of the second tumour, though they are tiny and vulnerable. And the icing on the cake of the next few weeks - no more waiting  for phone calls or appointment dates to arrive. My card is filled out with where I have to be when over the next three weeks - by which time, the initial treatment for my brain will be complete. I have a DVD to watch all about exactly what this treatment involves. I am fascinated by it; humbled by the fact that because I live in a rich, developed nation I can access it as if by right. Are British lives really worth so much more than Sierra Leonean ones?  Ugandan ones? That question's not going to go away in a hurry . . . but today, today, I will just rest in relief and gratitude that for me, here and now, this offer of treatment is an extraordinary and wonderful gift, and I am hugely thankful.

And now, off to clinic in Lancaster, to check that we're on the case with actioning treatment for the tumour in my lung, so that it can begin as soon as possible after the brain treatment is complete. After which, perhaps, a little time to pause, and reflect . . . .


17 comments:

  1. All the best for today. Sort them out! So glad Preston have given you lots of info, but much to absorb and ponder. The poorer nations? Huge, huge question and one of the many reasons no one should vote UKIP.

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    1. Thanks Helena xxLancaster team were great yesterday. Keep looking at the heaving queues for clinic, and realising just how much strain they're having to work under. . .

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  2. Stereotactic? What on earth...? I had to go and look it up! Truly amazing! And what I also find amazing is the research scientists who have decided to give all their energies and talents towards understanding this illness and developing ways to treat it - I know two young people who have made cancer research their career. And the years of fundraising that has made it possible - from Imperial Cancer, Cancer Research, Macmillan nurses and all the rest of them; the fun runs, the cakes baked, the daffodils bought, which has led us to this place. And I've no doubt cancer treatment will continue to improve as people bring their hearts and minds and talents to lessen suffering wherever it may be.
    All the best with this Debbie; it sounds as though the worst part will be not moving your head - you will need to practice keeping very, very still...!

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    1. Aha, Jane - that's what the specially designed full face mask is there to ensure I do! Think I may look a little liken something from Silence of the Lambs (!), but thankfully there won't be a big audience to see it! Looking forward to seeing you soon :)

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  3. Will you need to be in Preston every day? My friend had radiotherapy before Christmas and was in every day, which seemed like an ordeal even for someone living in Fulwood. I will be honking of you (I soooo wrote thinking then - but am leaving the auto corrected version for the sheer joy of it) in my regular sojourns past the hospital.
    As for the privilege of being British - it makes us feel so guilty doesn't it? I remember how I felt in Kenya when faced with their attitudes to mortality which were so far removed from our own experiences and attitudes. Difficult.
    I wish I could give you a massive real-life hug, but for now crazy Facebook posts will have to do.
    Love you lots and lots and lots xxxxx

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    1. Hi Emstaer! No the amazing thing wit this stereotactic radiotherapy is that it is administered in one big dose. So though there are 2 planning sessions te week before to get everything absolutley in place first, the treatment is 45 minutes! There may be further refinements to do in the follow up, but none of this weeks worth of daily stuff. Amazing. As to the privileges of being here . . . I don't think I feel guilty, so much, as overwhelmed by how blind we all are to just how much we have. And the urgency of compassion for those who have nothing, rather than moaning on about ourselves all the time. Looking forward to that real life hug before too long xxxxxx

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  4. praying for you amazing lady xxxxxxxx

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  5. Dear Debbie, I will be thinking about you and saying a little prayer for you every day. You are a truly amazing lady.xx

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    1. So lovely to be in touch with you Marilyn! Hope all's well with you and that you're still dancing :) Thank you so much for walking this with us xxx

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  6. praying that all the dates and timing go perfectly to plan for the best treatment you could possible get. It's all unfair that people in poorer countries don't get access to these amazing treatments, but it is equally unfair that a wonderful person like you has to go through all you're going through. Keep on writing Debbie so we can all go through it with you xxxxx

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    1. Love you Tracy. Thank you so much for your love and prayers and support - mean more than you know xxxx

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  7. Your blog is so positive in between the words as well as what has been put down so wonderfully i carnt put help to be pushed along the road with you every step of the way without having to say the normal things i tend to say just in a feebale attempt to fill the silence that this thing tends to be there my learning is to just be the being better some times than the doing not much good on the bible but what come sto mind is the woman complained about sister sat there with Jesus whilst she did all the work as she saw it if that make sense to others it does to me

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