Oncology Outpatients 6 May

Today I had my monthly Oncology Outpatients Appointment which thankfully was done by phone call and saved me travelling to UCLH in London.

I had had my blood test done on the 29th of April and already new that my PSA had come down to 144 from the previous level of 169 and the high of 1,585.  And so I was happy that everything was moving in the right direction although it had slowed down.

The call was with a doctor I hadn’t previously seen or spoken to but he had been through my records and I had been discussed at the MDT (Multi Discipline Team) meeting on Monday.

We went through my PSA result and how I was feeling.

I was actually feeling pretty good, no side effects from the Lutetium that I was aware of, no cancer related problems that I was aware of and just back pain from my fracture last year.  I relayed all of this to him.

We then discussed treatment and agreed that my next Lutetium treatment should take place on or around the 5th of June but ultimately it would come down to the Radiation Oncologist to decide.

We agreed that my next outpatients appointment would be on the 3rd June just before the treatment and I am also due to have my 3 monthly hormone injection on the 1st of June and I needed to get that booked in, and if I can I should get a blood test the same time ready for the outpatients appointment.

So a few things to get organised!

Overall I feel that doing the outpatients appointments by phone call works well and something I would like to see continue once the Corona Virus restrictions are lifted.  It is nice to see the doctor and build a rapport with them and you can discuss more with them and so it would be good to see them at least every three months.  Of course if my health were to change I would want to be going to see them so they can better see and examine me.

Video calls would be better as well so we can see who we are talking to, the call Barbara had with her oncologist was a video call and worked well.  But it would seem that UCLH prefer phone calls.

What next?  I need to get my 3 monthly injection organised and the treatment on the 5th of June confirmed.

A Sad Farewell

Yesterday we said farewell to my mother in law, Sheila Prior, it was sad day and in many ways different due to the Corona Virus restrictions.

I am classified as Extremely Vulnerable and as such confined to the house, but we really wanted to be at the graveside to say our farewells.

So we arranged it so we could stay in the car during the service to reduce the risk of picking up the virus.

The team at the cemetery were very good and helped us get the car very close to the graveside and with a phone call we were connected to the service.

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The service was only attended by immediate members of the family due to the restrictions and even then people kept their distance.

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One of the things that was missed was the close contact that is needed as part of the grieving and consoling process, the ability to hug and comfort each other on these occasions.

Sheila’s granddaughter’s played key roles with one reading a poem and the other singer her favourite song, “Send In The Clowns”.  Both were poignant occasions.

  We were pleased that we were able to attend and say our farewells and later in the year we will have a memorial service which more people will be able to attend and be more of a celebration of her life.

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Update on Barbara

And so I thought I would provide a short update on Barbara’s progress, if you recall all she was recently diagnosed with lobular breast cancer and then she had a lumpectomy on the 26th of March.

The lumpectomy went well although it was a very long day and she was at the hospital at 7 in the morning and never got home until 11:30 at night.

As you can imagine she was very tired for a few days and in a lot of pain. There were two wounds one under her arm where they accessed the lymph nodes and one around her nipple where they accessed the lump in her breast.

They had also discovered that the tumour was larger than they had thought and that it was 32 mm in size, it was also deep in the in the breast and attached to muscle. That said the surgeon felt that he had removed the whole tumour and that none had been left behind.

She had a very large dressing on and so it was difficult to see the wounds but you could see the pain and discomfort she was in in.

She had a follow-up appointment on the 8th of April and went to see the consultant in Epping as she was still in pain where he prescribed stronger medication and advised her to rest up more. He did say say that he felt the wounds were healing nicely and it would just be a case of time and it could be as long as 6 weeks.

We are still waiting to hear whether she will need chemotherapy or radiotherapy or a mixture of the two and tissue samples have been sent to America for testing. Once the results are back we will know more more about what follow-up treatment is needed.

Overall she is getting better by the day day with with movement returning to her left hand side a little bit each day day. I also think that the pain is reducing but she needs to continue to take it easy.

I off course wish her all the best and all my love.

A sad day

Today is a sad day, we got the phone call this afternoon that Barbara’s mother had passed away in hospital, it’s an extremely emotional time for us and just adds on to all the other things we are going through.

As background information, she had dementia for a number of years and recently had been very poorly she spent her time mostly at home with some time been spent in a care home.

The care home had said that she either had to spend all her time at the care home or all her time I’m at home. It was decided that she would go full-time into the care home so there was less risk of her taking the virus into the home.

After a few days of being in the home I received a call from the care home saying that she had been admitted to hospital with a high fever, the paramedics have been called and they had decided to take her to hospital.

Within a few days we got another phone call saying that tests indicated that she had Corona Virus and that that she was approaching the end of her life.

On the 7th of April she finally succumbed to the virus and passed away. I can only hope but the she is now in a better place and at peace.

I think what this does is make the Corona Virus very real us and our family. No one was allowed to visit her in hospital and so we never got to say our goodbyes.

The funeral is planned for next week and I don’t think Barbara and I should go so we will have to find another way to say goodbye. As only 10 people can go to the funeral it is planned to hold a memorial service for her later in the year.

In the meantime we are thinking of her and remembering the good times.

Rest In Peace