Wednesday 21 January 2015

Happy Birthday, your cancer's back

Today is my 50th birthday. Yes your old dragon successfully made it to a half century of rotations around the sun. It's been a blast so far and I wouldn't have missed any of it... well maybe that bit when I was on a ferry in a storm in the North Sea and I managed to projectile vomit the length of the ship.

Unfortunately, and there's always an unfortunately with cancer, there was an unwelcome e carly birthday present this week when I went to get my results from the Donut of Doom and got the news that the liver metastases had started to grow back. Not by a huge amount, one of them by about a centimetre, but definitely on the march again. Fortunately it doesn't appear to have spread anywhere else so far which is a definite plus.

To be honest I was expecting the news. Since around the new year the fatigue has started to creep back and I was starting to get the liver capsule pain after eating which is what happened before. I told myself that it might be that I was run down after having had a persistent cold on the run up to Christmas and that the rest might be a bit of indigestion but being honest I knew.

So the plan is to whallop it with some more chemicals. Different ones this time with a regime called FOLFRI where the miracle wonder ingredient is Irinotecan which stops DNA from unzipping and thus buggers up cell growth. Happily unlike the platinum based drugs I was on before this doesn't give you the problems with cold screwing up your fingers and toes but it does cause hair loss and apparently can give you the most monumental squits. What fun.

I'm also going to be put onto a monoclonal antibody, Cetuximab which is some Frankenstein's Monster drug made by combining mouse and human genes. I'm quite comfortable with that and to be honest if they came up with something which worked that was made by throwing cute kittens and fluffy pink unicorns in a blender I'd be at the head of the queue to guzzle it down. If I suddenly start squeaking and raiding the fridge for cheese though I'll be sure and let you know.

Interestingly given the early pre-election skirmishing over the NHS and the withdrawal of some of the extra money for cancer drugs Cetuximab is one of those drugs that my oncologist has had to apply to the Cancer Drugs Fund for. I did mention that I was lucky to get in before they withdraw some of the money in March.

"Not at all," says he. "Cetuximab is still available and the only bowel cancer drug that's being withdrawn is one I don't use because, quite frankly, it hardly ever works."

So there you go. All the scaremongering about hundreds of cancer patients dying because of evil nasty government cuts is, quite frankly bollocks.

Right, where's my cheese


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