March Chemo

Today was a good day!

Lovely bright morning – dry even though it had rained most of the night – and unseasonally warm too – I had my fleece on, window part down and no heater on in the car! We left home about 9.15 and it was a good drive with not much traffic so by 10.30 I had checked in and got my bar code to take to the haemotology lab to have blood drawn. The Lab Technician was one I had not met before and he was a bit “captain grumpy” especially when he struggled to get the vein – but hey ho!

My oncologist’s receptionist told me “you can go have coffee now Mr Nikoli come back half hour” and so I did – a double double expresso (that is not a typo – it was two double expressos in one cup) with a hot milk topping and two saccharine tablets. It was delicious not having had a coffee since mid-day on Thursday.

About 20 minutes later I got a phone call to say I was next for the doctor so I made my way back inside, knocked on the doctor’s door and walked right in. Dr Angel (annunciated ANGIL) Tuparov rose to greet me with his trademark smile. He told me that my blood results were all normal – the liver enzyme issue was under control (still) and there were no cancer markers in the test results. He then asked me how I had been during the previous month and I described the ups and downs, particularly the chronic nausea attacks, but also that my eye problems had not been so often which has been great – he was pleased about that.

He has also now decided to refer me to a vascular surgeon for a pre-cancer existing condition (called ‘Peripheral Arterial Disorder’) which has worsened in the past few months – that will be good because it is really really painful in my legs and sometimes I can’t move because of it. But the medication for that condition “doesn’t play nicely” with my chemo meds so treatment has to be managed carefully.

We then talked about the next “chemo day” on 7th April which coincidentally is the one year anniversary of my diagnosis and emergency brain surgery in 2022 – a real milestone **. Following that – before the end of April – I will go in for another deep contrast CT scan and a full body MRI – then the oncology team will reassess my treatment plan and update my prognosis.

We parted with a hug and a handshake and then I went upstairs for an EKG and to wait for my medications to be hand-mixed and delivered – about 12.45 I got my meds and Jane arrived exactly on time to collect me at 1.00pm – hooray!! And we had an uneventful but pleasant drive home.

And so this evening I will start my 8th cycle of chemotherapy and once again see how it goes one day at a time!

** Mentally/pyschologically the anniversary next month is a much bigger deal than I had imagined it would be – without going into boring detail – mainly because the global stats for glioblastoma are frightening in any case. The current assessment of the average survival time is very short – just 12-18 months. However, 25% of glioblastoma patients survive more than one year and 5% of patients survive more than five years. Nevertheless I still remain very positive about the treatment I have been receiving at the hospital, the oncology team – and my general well-being.

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