Wow. What a day. What a few days and what a few weeks it’s been. I’m not sure if I’ve got the energy to finish this blog but it’s now over a week since I’ve been home and I’m desperate to write an update so let’s see how this goes. There’s certainly a hell of a lot to say.
And that’s because life couldn’t be much further away from ‘normal’ right now. Every single day brings a new challenge that neither I nor my family have faced before. But we’re getting by. We’re coping. And more than that, we’re making real progress each and every day.
Yes, it’s tough. But we start each day with a deep breath and a smile, and we end it by telling each other we love each other and that tomorrow will be even better than today. That we’ll make even more progress. We’ll get there, we’ll figure it all out.
June. What a great month it is. The start of Wimbledon, supposedly the start of Summer and this year, the start of the European Championships.
But June 2016? It’s been horrible. The sooner it’s over, the better. The weather’s been atrocious, we’re out of the Euros at the expense of Iceland and the country is in political and economic turmoil post-Brexit. Thank God for the England Rugby team.
However, through all that genuine doom and gloom – and all the fear and worry – I’m hoping to give you just a little ray of light to perk up what is otherwise a pretty gloomy time.
That’s because, for me, June has been better than most.
When I was first referred to a professor at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and told about a treatment called IL-2, I didn’t really want to know much more. There could be loads of pieces like this already over the internet, laying out what it’s like to have IL-2, but ignorance was bliss. I didn’t want to know what I was getting into.
But now I’ve experienced it I thought it would be worth jotting down what’s happened so far. If it helps one person prepare for it then I guess it’s worth it.
Only two hospitals in the UK administer cancer treatment Interleukin-2 and it’s not too hard to see why. It’s seriously expensive for a start, but it’s also quite new and very intense.
I will always remember when it dawned on me that doctors were taking my case seriously. It was the end of September 2014, and I had just been admitted into hospital. I was three weeks into a brilliant new job as news editor of the ambitious Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, and in my mind I was desperate to make a good impression – even if my body wasn’t.
When I had accepted the job I really did think I was fine. Yes, I had lost weight and was struggling with my energy levels – but I just thought I was unfit. So it was a big shock when the call from Warwick Hospital came.
I certainly didn’t think I warranted the ensuite room they had given me. It was situated next to dozens of old and frail people who all looked genuinely ill, while I was sat in bed all day happily watching DVDs and reading magazines. Nevertheless, the doctors seemed worried. A couple of days of blood tests followed before a CT Scan eventually revealed a four-inch tumour in my right kidney.