You remember how the plan was to have an autograft?

Forget that.

It seems I’m not much good at getting my stem cells going, as the bone marrow harvest the other day didn’t provide nearly enough for the autograft… It’s unlikely that further harvests would suddenly garner big results, and without enough stem cells for the ‘rescue’ I can’t have the high-dose chemotherapy and radiotherapy, so the autograft is no longer a possibility. Naturally this is a bit frustrating, as I’d got my mind set on it and was looking forward to potentially finishing my treatment in the next couple of months and being back to full strength by, say, September.

Instead, I’ll now be having the long-term chemotherapy option, which of course has its advantages. Although I’ll still be having some radiotherapy, it’ll just be cranial this time, so hopefully the side effects will be less. The treatment is less intense than the autograft, and there will not be the 5-10% risk of picking up an infection that would prove fatal. If you remember, the success rates of the autograft and the long-term chemotherapy are pretty much the same, as far as anyone can tell.

I’m a bit gutted, though, as I do think that for quality of life, the autograft is definitely the best option. It would have been great to get it over with quickly, and to have been able to get on with life pretty much as normal possibly even before a year had elapsed since my diagnosis. Instead I’ll still be getting treatment perhaps into 2008, which is a long way away. I was also prepared for the autograft and all it entailed; the long-term chemo protocol looks daunting.

Rationally, I know that this isn’t really a setback at all, considering the end result and chances of a positive outcome are the same as they were. But as you can probably tell, my rational side isn’t winning the argument at the moment. I’m home alone for about 24 hours as my father’s going to Edinburgh for a party and Freddie’s serving beer at Aintree, and I’m quite glad for the time alone – all I want to do at the moment is mope around and kick things.

Perhaps it’s all for the best? It may well be but I’m an impatient sod. The light at the end of the tunnel just got dimmer, though of course it is still there. In practical terms, I’m now at home for the next couple of weeks, though will be at Downside for the Easter Retreat (every cloud has a silver lining) and will know more about the exact plan when I see Samar and Dr Dalley a fortnight on Monday.

Hurrah for long-term chemo etc.

26 thoughts on “I never wanted an autograft anyway

  1. That’s sad – hope you’re not too gutted…
    Plan to send you some goodies to cheer you up over the next few days.


  2. Thinking of you George.

    I know it is distressing when a medical procedure you have mentally prepared yourself for is cancelled.

    You’re allowed to ignore the rational inner-voice…

    Jean (Robyn’s friend).

  3. I came onboard to comment on magical weddings and fabulouso family mayhem…(AS MY FIRST BLOG COMMENT)but instead I shall comment on the bore that is change of treatment..BORE! However, eliminating risk is good from my point of view (selfish as it is)and you never know, I might be able to nurse you, professionally, by the end! Tee hee! Needless to say, with you all the way, AND please find out can you go diving with sisters on chemo (obviously not sisters ON chemo, think that would be too much for poor daddy!)?? You know what i’s the ghastly flu wot confuses me.
    Big hugs (tho not too close as running high temperature and snotty), Your not so big sister xx
    PS Daddy told me he was coming to stay with me, not go to a party????hhmmmffff.

  4. How frustrating! But I am with Harriet on keeping risks down and it’ll be turbo-lovely to have your company over Easter.

    With you all the way, lots of love

    Robyn (on a temporary break from being Miss Gladwyn – hence any SPG errors are ok) x x x

  5. Gutting, George, we’re feeling a bit knocked back by that news. At least we have very little chance of losing you to infection! Sorry for spending half of Sunday telling you how good the autograft quality of life was meant to be…

  6. Oh george, you must be feeling totally deflated, but like Harri said you are elimintatin that 5-10% risk of infection and that is hugely comforting. I have some fabulous piccies from the wedding, so will sort out a way to host them online so you can all see them, and also get them printed. Will hopefully see you very soon LOL Marie-Soph xxxx

  7. Hey George sorry to hear they didnt get enough stem cells for the autograph, i had the long term treatment instead of an Autograph and im pleased i did it i know after the mind prep you must of had to go through its gotta be pretty rubbish, but maintenance is a breeze compared to all the other stuff you ve had shoved into your veins so far. The end is still in sight you just gonna have to wait a little longer to get there all the best


  8. So sorry to read this George – the girls and I re-united with Hilary today in Singapore. We are all feeling a bit gutted for you.
    Look forward to seeing you again in the summer, maybe at Blackberry? You know that you can use it whenever and with whoever you want(maybe not Freddie).
    All our love,
    Philip, Hilary, Jess, Grace & Nina

  9. To help recover from the setback, Mr and Mrs TomandAlice went snorkelling with dolphins in the Indian Ocean today. I hope you feel much better as a result!

  10. hi george, u’ve never met me but i’m one of daisy’s (ailsa) best friends, and also a nurse who has worked in heamatology/oncology and have been keeping an eye on your progress – just wanted u to know that my prayers are with u,and chin up, i know how disappointed u must be at the moment but your right, focuss on the outcome being similar.
    lots of thoughts and prayers, liz-bob xx

  11. Hi George
    Sorry to hear the plans have changed, but these things which are out of our control, often in hindsight, all happen for a reason!

    Please don’t feel sad and remember WE (and there are many that constitute the ‘we’) are all here to support you and send you masses of hugs, prayers and love along the way!

    lots of love and sunshine

  12. p.s. Almost forgot there will be some photies via snail mail for all members of the Norton clan (and some for the Rapp’s, Dalglish’s & Buckley’s)when I get organised…..better late than never I say!

    There are some gems which capture the wonderfulness of Tom & Alice’s big day.

  13. Dearest George,

    Many many hugs. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on things, everything changes eh? To add another potential bright side to those mentioned, you’ll no longer have to suffer my celebrity/autograft quips.

    Adding my crossed fingers that you’ll be in Oxford for your graduation soon (since I unfortunately have no job security at the moment, and am saving up days off for interviews…)

    Cariad mawr fy annwylydd,

    hannah xx

  14. How gutting, you must feel quite low after the result, but keep you chin up as my dad would say. Keep in there, George. We’ll all keep you in our prayers.

    Take care


  15. Hope you’ve had a bit of time over the weekend to re-group and re-think, George. Still the same challenge to be attacked, just different tactics required.
    Don’t ask me where all the military-strategy lingo is coming from, but it seemed appropriate?!?
    Thinking of you.
    Love, ali xxx

  16. Hi George,

    you do not know me but I heard about you from admin people in Jesus College, Oxford

    in 2003, i spent the all year fighting against a rare case of cancer in my right sinuse, i was 32 … I had 6 month very strong chemo and two month radiotherapy as well as facial surgery…well, I shall keep it short at this point

    Just to tell you that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel – look, 3 years after i am still here; this is for me an acheivement. Sucess rate are only stats, you have to save all your energy to fight this fucking thing

    Don’t feel sorry if you want to kick everything, if you are moody or if you want to cry; It is natural and the best thing to do is to express yourself and talk to people. This is the only way to cope with what you are starting now

    Go on , you can do it!


  17. Mr and Mrs TomandAlice you are SO’s not even me going through treatment but it hurts just the same that you are snorkelling with dolphins and I am not! (Tee reality I am really pleased that you are having a marvelously marvelous time, but George, I guess our Norton numbers for diving may now grow?!)
    Lots love little sis x

  18. And today the Tom half went diving (twice) whilst the Alice half had a massage in the spa. Tom half says:

    And today the Tom half went diving (twice) whilst the Alice half had a massage in the spa. Tom half was told that he looked very comfortable and was accused of lying that he had never dived before and Alice half got jealous and has decreed that she will do a Padi course. Actually Tom half didn’t see much but did stroke a funny sticky cleaning thing and saw a jackfish. He’ll dive again, but only with George.

  19. The crazy tomandalice makes me laugh! I’m holding my breath with excitement about thursday, although rachael has just informed me you won’t be spending a day in the monastery after all… shame. I managed to make it all the way home to somerset without missing any stops – super happy about that, and being home is gorgeous. hope yesterdays ‘ok’ has moved up to a ‘good’, or even ‘happy days!’. many loving head pats, your one and only, totally socially inadequate, Jo X

  20. Bollocks!
    But at least Pompey did not lose on Saturday!!
    I too am very jealous of Tomandalice (even though I haven’t met her! Or was she the one I threw up on? Oops! I don’t drink any more) Still will be living in Germany by end of year so will not be too far from the mountains! Better than diving as you get a tan at the same time.
    Any of you going to Army Vs Navy on 6th May?
    Want to come see you, when would be good?
    Lots of love
    Hannah & rest of Lawes crew

  21. Hi George
    I’m sorry to hear about the change of plan but I’m sure in some funny way it’s all meant to be. The tortoise / hare story springs to mind so just try & keep on going & remember that we’re all with you, every step of the way until you’re fully better (even if that is until 2008!).
    Very jealous of tomandalice – sounds as though you’re having an amazing time!
    love to all the nortons!
    Tora (& the rest of the blotts!) x


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