Chapter 6: Failure, and next steps

“A PET scan was carried out in September to find out whether the second chemotherapy had worked.”

5 October 2016  

Dear friends

Unfortunately Donald has not left the room but his power has been diminished and he might still meet his maker at the hands of a rocket man…

As you’ll probably know, I had a PET scan last week to find out if the June chemo had worked. Today I went in for the result. The imaging shows the tumour is still there although it’s much reduced in size. There is a possibility that it’s a false reading. But the haemotlogist’s opinion is that it’s still an active tumour and its best to proceed on that assumption. He was very straight with me and reminded me that I have a particularly aggressive type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). Further chemo is not an option but radiotherapy is.

The radiotherapy process will probably start next week and treatment proper will start in 3 weeks. This will be 15 daily sessions over three weeks. The radiotherapy messes with the DNA of the cancer cells so much so that they’re unable to repair themselves and die. This is unlike normal cells that can repair damaged DNA. It’ll take until February to find out if this has worked. I’ve been told that there aren’t any survival rate stats, so I guess outcome is pot luck.

So not really the news we’d been hoping for but never the less cure (to use a word used by the good doctor) remains a possibility. ‘Cure’ is not a word used lightly by doctors- that is, when they use it they mean that this is a possible outcome. So where there’s life, there’s hope.

The 14th October  is the anniversary of my first admission to hospital when NHL was first diagnosed. How time flies when you’re having fun!

To stretch metaphors painfully thin, the dotard Donald may yet be nuked by the little rocket man that is radiotherapy.

Love

Nigel

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