Monday 10 March 2014


It turns out that when you get a diagnosis like mine all this machinery you never hear about kicks into action. I feel like I've been twiddling my talons for the last month since the stent was fitted and nothing has been happening but, as I found out on Friday, there's been a whole load of meetings with liver specialists, surgeons, oncologists, firemen* and other professionals to decide how best to patch up your dragon here. This I found out when I met the first doctor who has actually given me a straight answer without resorting to obfuscation and unnecessary cancerspeak.

One of the first things he did was show me my CT scan - this was done about 5 weeks ago but nobody has shown it to me yet. All I could get was the liver mets were "serious" and there were "several", which when I looked at them on the screen is, to be fair, pretty accurate. There they were, dark grey against the light grey liver*, one... after... another. And they were big bastards too, 2 centimetres some of them and all over the shop. OK so even me whose only experience of surgery was playing that "Operation" game that buzzed if you touched the two metal bits together as a kid could see that you're not going to be able to resection that.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that given I'm this messed up but can still flap my wings I'm eligable as a candidate for the super-sexy sounding FOXFIRE trial - and yes it is all in capital letters. Essentially what this is is the kick-ass chemotherapy that they can give you for this (5-Fluorouracil, OXaliplatin and Folinic acid) but the added bit, if you're on the treatment group is "Interventional Radiotherapy Embolisation"

No that's the Russian plane Clint Eastwood stole in the film.

What this involves is them putting a line into an artery near the liver and injecting very small balls doped with Yttrium-90. That sounds radioactive doesn't it. That's because it is! It decays giving off beta radiation and the idea is that it kills the cancer cells in the liver and their blood supplies. It's not a cure but if it works should make things better for longer.

Now this is a clinical trial so there's only a 50% chance I'll get the radiation treatment but I'm cool with that; I'll get the standard treatment anyhow so signing up for the trial was a no brainer. OK so according to the blurb I've been given there's a 1 in 1000 chance this thing will kill me outright but on the other hand there's a chance I'll also get some great mutant superpowers like this:

A Firefox, yesterday.

... probably not.

We'll find out next monday.

* turns out they only need those for me.
* CT scans are in greyscale


  1. Keep breathing fire there, buddy.

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