James Blake – I Only Know (What I Know Now)

There’s a rather good UK charity called Beating Bowel Cancer and I noticed on their website that they are hosting a big, patient-oriented event next month in April 2011. It’s got all sorts of stuff – talks about latest research, diet and exercise, clothing and equipment, etc.

I went through my cancer without joining in on anything offered to me, even though before I myself was diagnosed I was a supporter and contributor to some excellent patient-help groups like the Wallace Cancer Care group. They have a drop-in centre at Addenbrookes hospital. I could have gone there rather than waiting around the hospital and reception would have bleeped me when it was time to go in for treatments. I could have had aromotherapy. I could have joined in all sorts of activities.

Even though I can recommend them, and say that friends of mine found them especially good in the aftermath of a breast cancer diagnosis; I have to say it wasn’t for me. I may be a grumpy old depressive who likes nothing better than a soulful wallow in the dark side of life, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy. Au contraire, reader. I positively enjoyed hanging around the waiting areas like some doomed Madame Bovary (only male, if you follow) and wondering if everyone there realised just quite how young and doomed I was to be in this state? When I wasn’t wondering what they thought of me I indulged in my other favourite vice – peoplewatching.

So I surprised myself when I found that I was entering my credit card details and booking a ticket for this Bowel Cancer shindig. It was nearly worth it when a few minutes later an email arrived for me bearing the wonderful subject line:

Receipt for Your Payment to Beating Bowel Cancer

Is it just me or does that look like a message from some higher deity advising me that I have now paid my dues? Like the customer services department in Heaven is telling me that yeah, God has in fact received my payment and I’m good to go. All it needs is a little change of “to” / “for” and it would be perfect.

I still don’t know exactly why I’m going (or even if I will, it is still a month away). If I had to guess, I would say that it’s a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Once I started being told I was clear from cancer, I lost my place from the in-group and it made me depressed. I’m looking for another group to fill the gap, and this one looked good enough to do that.

But you are never in the clear until 5 long years have passed and I’ve only done 1.5 years.

For my last scan they weren’t quite so blasé about the all-clear messages. There are some spots (nodules) in my lungs they say. They’ve always been there since the original scans and in fact when they told me about my secondary Liver cancer the big surprise was that it was the liver and not the lung. These are miniscule spots, but there was some concern they may become enlarged this scan around. They sent off my info to a Pulmonary expert at another hospital but the message came back that these spots are too little, and the best course of action is another scan (at the end of May) to see how it’s developing.

So maybe I’m still in the group after all?

Leaving the melodrama aside (ah must I, was enjoying that), at least this will be the earliest possible diagnosis of lung nasties and so they ought to be treatable. Far, far too early to go into the details of that. Just a wait and see situation.