The trip to the Marsden on Tuesday wasn’t really much use, to be honest, as they hadn’t managed to receive all the information they needed, and as I hadn’t seen Dr Dalley at that point I didn’t know anything about what dates he was planning for my autograft… I’ll be having radiotherapy at the Marsden as part of the autograft (that and high dose chemotherapy will knock out my bone marrow completely), so a doctor took the opportunity to tell me all about it and let me know the potential side effects. In the short term the effects are much the same as for chemo (nausea, diarrhoea, hair loss etc), though in the long term there are some novel things that can go wrong.

If I were ever to sit down and list (or even think about) everything that could have gone wrong or could go wrong, I would just be overwhelmed… So once again I’ll just take it as it comes, and get through each bit at a time.

Yesterday I saw Dr Dalley (the transplant consultant at St George’s) and now know a lot more about the autograft. He was brilliant: calm, pragmatic, clear in his explanations and friendly. In short, this is the plan from now:

  • Monday 6th March: Blood tests so that Laura (the transplant nurse at St G’s) can do virology tests. Also probably a chest x-ray and ECG (cardiogram to check my heart’s ok)
  • Friday 10th (?): Final dose of methotrexate, and all that jazz.
  • 10th-20th: Growth hormones (GCSF?) to encourage my stem cells to grow more than normal.
  • 20th or 21st: Stem cell harvest (line in each arm, or perhaps elsewhere; blood comes out, gets spun in a machine, which takes out the stem cells; blood gets returned to me – thank you very much Mr machine). Then home?
  • A few weeks later (?): To St George’s, then to Marsden for radiotherapy (either one load, or fractionated into 8 loads spread over 4 days), back to St G’s for chemotherapy. Dangerous time as I have no bone marrow at all and am at serious risk of infection and bleeding.
  • 2/3 days after chemotherapy: Stem cells dripped back into my bloodstream.
  • 2 weeks later: Stem cells reach bone marrow and my immune system will hopefully start being able to fight infections etc again.
  • Another 2/3 weeks later: Home, as long as all has gone smoothly…
  • Possibly a bit more chemotherapy.
  • Another few months later: Back to something like full strength.

Dr Dalley explained everything, so if I’ve forgotten something or you wondered how part of it works, do ask me and if I don’t know I’ll try to find out. Everything has to be done at its precise time (though as you see I don’t know exactly when some of those precise times are), but it’s looking as though there’s a good chance I’ll be out for Tomandalice’s April Fool’s wedding; unfortunately Easter and Graduation are looking much less likely.

Anyway, must go – Harriet and I have started the first season of ’24’ – we’ve only reached midday so far and it’s far too addictive. We started the day before yesterday… who ever claimed I never do anything useful?

12 thoughts on “Now we’re getting there

  1. A quanto pare sarà un mese impegnativo…senza dubbio il punto tra quelli elencati che preferisco è di gran lunga l’ultimo…!

    ti abbraccio forte forte


  2. Hi George

    With you all the way with the 24. trying to right my disertation at the moment and have already been delayed by 2 series of it. and the third is very hard to resits!

    Hope sunny southborne is keeping you well!

    Thanks for all of the updates.


  3. Hi George,

    I hope all goes will with this treatment which you are going to having in the next few days. Life for me at the moment is going well.

    Thanks for your updates


  4. Hi George
    difficult times ahead but we’re all rooting for you. you must let us know when good visiting times will be throughout this next phase.
    love, ali x

  5. ciao bello

    ma c’e davvero tanto ancora da fare ma non ti preoccupare, come sai siamo tutti qui con te ad ogni momento. spero che hai ricevuto il mio messaggio?! ma adesso se continuiamo a scrivere al indirizzo del ospedale ricevi la posta o non? forse e’ meglio solo scrivere su questo, beh non lo so, dimmi tu.

    As for ’24’…that is not a good road to start down, i got introduced to the 1st series a few weeks back and was so addicted that i would get in from a night out at 6am and sit down and watch an episode, honestly so sad! am determined to keep the 2nd series at arms length, at least until i have finished my dissertation…or maybe just until i have written the first page and then surely i deserve a treat?!

    well my lovely sending huge amount of hugs.

    loads and loads of love


  6. George darling,

    Nasty rowing finally over for the term, and I finally have some time to write letters. Apologies in advance.

    Hope that all goes well with the virology tests today

    Hannah xx

  7. Hello George,
    You may not recognise the name, but becky bailie recently sent me an email to ask me to click continuously on easyjets website! I was becky’s friend at bruton and i wanted to say hello and i hope your blood tests go well. Thinking of you. Laura

  8. Boo hiss to not being at graduation! Try and get your stem-cell refreshed ass there if you can thankyouplease.

    and big furry hedgehogs of love, tenderness and caring to you… and the porcupine of autograft gentility tips his spines at you as well…


  9. george – when you have finished series 1, then i have series 2, 3 and 4 on dvd if that is any help! – i know how addictive it is – a few of us watched the entirity of series 2 in one day (aptly named ’24 day’) during that post-finals madness, so there’s a challenge!!
    good luck with the next few bits and bobs, will be thinking about you. xx

  10. Très cher George,

    J’éspère que tu te sens mieux aujourd’hui, je pense fort à toi.

    Have fun with 24, I watched the 1st Season during my final exams last semester (feels ashaimed).

    Gros gros bisous from all your French students!

    Love, Victoire

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