In early 2022, my wife Jane and son Toby began to notice that some of my behaviours had become more than a bit strange; there were also memory and speech and hearing issues, my osteoarthritis began to be more severe – and they became more and more worried about my mobility and mental health – but despite bad tempers, arguments, emotional breakdowns, general complaints of feeling very ill. With the help of some true friends who know me very well I was eventually pursuaded to visit our local GP at Svishtov hospital.
After batteries of tests I had a CAT Scan and an MRI. The results of these identified that I had a Stage 4 (terminal) glioblastoma tumour in my brain, adjacent to and pressing against my frontal lobe. The oncologists and other specialists told me that without surgery I would not survive very long. I needed emergency surgery urgently – so I was sent to Pleven where they operated in my brain to remove 20% of the active tumour. Following the surgery and brief recuperation in hospital and at home, I was admitted to the Pleven hospital as an inpatient for 7 weeks of daily aggressive radiotherapy on the tumour and the brain box itself. The hospital stay has a story all of its own as it was so different to any other hospital I have been in – but I’m not going into detail about it here.
After a week of home rest to get over the radiotherapy treatment which was physically exhausting, the oncologists got me started on the chemotherapy regime which consists of cycles of 3 days of very strong chemo tablets, followed by 25 days of no chemo tablets. This cycle will go on until it stops – whenever that is, and for whatever reason.
In early November 2022 I had a routine MRI to check on how the chemo and radiotherapy had affected the tumour – and lo and behold – 80-90% of what had remained in my head after the surgery had gone – so maybe leaving 10-15% of the original tumour remaining. Fantastic news, my treatment team were very pleased – and next year, probably March, I will have another deep contrast high detail CT Scan and MRI to check on the progress before reassessing my prognosis and treatment plan.