Sharp Blue: Two weeks later


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If my dad’s oncologist was surprised at how ill he seemed at the last appointment two weeks ago, he was equally surprised at how well he seems now. The side effects of the interferon have all vanished - no more shaking or vomiting attacks - and so have the symptoms of his viral infection - no more coughing. Indeed, the only symptoms that he has right now is an ache in his leg (which is probably residual damage from the radiotherapy coupled with referred pain from nerve damage in his back), and the fact that he gets tired quickly. The only side effects of thalidomide so far is drowsiness at night, which isn’t really surprising considering that when it was first developed it was partly marketed as a sleeping pill.

Another thing I learned yesterday is that the radioisotope bone scan looks at metabolic activity associated with bone destruction or regrowth. The hotspot in his back was therefore new bone growing where the tumour had been destroyed. Also, the cancer that showed up in his rib in the CT didn’t appear in the radioisotope scan and so is small and not very active. I’m hoping that the disappearance of pain on coughing is evidence that the tumour in his lung is no longer growing or even maybe shrinking. We won’t know for another month though (my dad’s next CT is, if I remember correctly, on June 27 and the next oncology appointment on July 8). Dr Newman also said that he didn’t see any problem with the idea of my dad going back to work part-time (in the afternoons) or going on holiday at the end of August. What’s more, he said that the condition “isn’t immediately life-threatening”. It’s clearly very serious though, and life-threatening on longer timescales. Still no word on experimental treatments yet though.

As for me, I’ve been busy taking a driving refresher course, reading at a ferocious rate on several subjects (I’m now reading nine books concurrently, which might be a new personal record), and doing lots of work on our garden and pond. I’ve been using our new pond vacuum cleaner - who’d have thought that sucking up vile goo could be such fun?

Rich wrote: "who'd have thought that sucking up vile goo could be such fun?"

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