It’s been great being out of hospital for a decent amount of time – properly out, without having to return once a week for blood tests etc, and there has been much loveliness, including the chance to spend lots of time with my darling father (who hasn’t forgiven me for moaning about Southbourne yet). But I was very much looking forward to going back today to discover just how the final phase is going to pan out, as I wanted to start thinking about when I might be able to see London friends in a non-hospital environment, when I could start working again, and whether I’d be needing to go straight to Oxford from St George’s for Graduation or what, and many other things.

Unfortunately, I was a bit ahead of myself when I assumed this phase would involve less hospital in-patient time (my hope was that it might be a few days in, followed by a week out, not too neutropaenic, for example), and more chance to get back to a normal-ish life. According to the protocol, I should have cranial radiotherapy to protect my brain from leukaemia before embarking on the chemotherapy, but somewhere along the line it didn’t get organised… My consultant was very apologetic that the people who should have done it hadn’t, but explained why it shouldn’t be an issue to delay it until after the chemotherapy (namely 1. I’m young 2. I had a low blood count when I came in 3. They’ve never actually found any leukaemic cells in my spinal fluid 4. I had the methotrexate, which should have knocked out any cells that could have been there). He thinks it more important to get on with the chemotherapy.

The continuing chemotherapy, it transpires, involves four blocks of approximately four weeks each… My reading of the protocol had produced the assumption that the gaps where there was no chemo would see me out and about, and I believed some of it may have been done as an outpatient. Unfortunately, it seems I will be in hospital for each block, as my blood counts WILL be lowered to the extent that they will want to keep me in.

As my father suggested:

Thought for the Day

  • Bang go my hopes of squeezing in some semblance of a social life between chemo;
  • bang goes my chance of graduating with my friends in a couple of weeks’ time;
  • bang goes my expectation that I could go to Lourdes in July;
  • bang goes my plan to pop back to Literary Review to work when possible;
  • bang goes my joy at having spent the winter months in hospital and being out to enjoy the summer.

I am pretty disappointed, though of course I know it could be much worse. This chemo is all intravenous or tablet form, I think, and shouldn’t be as bad as what I’ve had so far. After the chemo, I’ll have the cranial irradiation, and then the maintenance chemo is really not too regular (2 weeks every 3 months, I think). One of the nurses I saw today was telling me about someone who’s just finishing their treatment (same as mine): apparently he occasionally misses appointments because he’s busy playing football, which is very encouraging.

I’m probably heading in on Wednesday, or if not then Thursday or Friday, and will have a few different chemotherapy drugs in the first few days, by the look of it. I’ll be in for 3 or 4 weeks, depending on my blood counts at the end of the treatment. I’m actually not worried at all about the chemo itself – it’s just hospital food and being stuck in my room for a good while that I’m not looking forward to, while it’s frustrating not to be able to get back to life, and a great shame that I’ll miss Graduation and Lourdes.

However, it’s all for good reason: to keep the damned leukaemia away! So it’s all worth it. Right?

8 thoughts on “Aw mate, gutted

  1. Bugger indeed.

    Still, nil desperandum, although I’m sure it’d take a lot to get you down – you really do have the patience of a saint.

    Remember that we’re all behind you every step of the way.

    hannah xx

    Perhaps, fellow readers, we should start a plot to bring George new and interesting diversions/ non-hospital food (assuming the same banned list as before?) – any thoughts?

  2. I’d like that Hannah. It’s always nice to find George’s fridge full of food that’s just passed its best before date that he really shouldn’t eat…

  3. Aw mate, i’m so gutted i’m not gonna see you and your entertainingly slippery pate at graduation in a couple of weeks. Still, chin up (though only whilst saying ‘bugger’ under your breath) from the sound of your entry this is the last big slog of treatment and then you get to rejoin us in the real world and all the bright, silly, loud fun that is! Once youse’re all settled back in at your tooting stately home you shall get a wee bouncing visit from a wee bouncing ben as well… I hope the nurses are hotter than last time i visited!

    Keep smiling my friend and approach this like you’ve approached the rest of this lunacy – with jaw-dropping diginity and your playful humour…

    kisses, hugs and relegation dogfight spirit coming your way…


  4. Georgio, ditto “bugger” about graduation, though my turn of phrase might be slightly different (I’ve reacquired my accent simply for comedy value, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know!) Similar sentiment about you having to spend so much time in hospital – although while I’m sure you’re diappointed about not, initially at least, being able to come out and play football, you might want to make sure your visits coincide with the world cup so you avoid the inevitable disappointment that may afflict the rest of us this summer! But then, you are far more optimistic than me in all respects!

    Take care for now


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