Monday, October 21, 2013

So what the hell's going on?

This is a very hard post for me to write. But I need to get it 'out there'. Perhaps it'll be cathartic, perhaps it'll just be a reminder that no one should ever take anyone for granted.

Earlier this summer my husband, Peter, started having some stomach problems. At first we (and the doctor) thought it was just acid reflux. Some appropriate medication was prescribed and we moved on. Unfortunately, the medication didn't work and the episodes of reflux became more frequent and more prolonged, to the extent that Peter started losing weight. He's one of those people who can lose weight very quickly. He returned to the doctor, to a different one this time. He chased up the request for an endoscopy that a previous doctor had (perhaps) forgotten about.

The endoscopy showed Barrett's Oesophagus, a condition that comes about as a result of a hiatus hernia. Some samples were also taken for biopsy and a scan was booked for two weeks further on. The results of the biopsy showed cancerous cells in the oesophagus. The scan indicated that the cells hadn't gone walkabout. Still, to hear that word 'cancer', is a shock. And that, frankly, is putting it mildly. It's like staring into the gaping, dark maw of a formless monster. There's no sugarcoating the word. There's rogue cells making busy in my husband's body and I want the fuckers out.

Today we went to Oxford, to the Cancer Unit at Churchill Hospital. This is a very good place, Peter couldn't be in better hands. We went, hoping for a way forward. What we're facing is more tests. There's a more detailed scan scheduled for three days from now, then there's an ultrasound endoscopy for two weeks after that. Then there's a laparoscopy. The doctors want to be assured that the cancer hasn't spread.

If it hasn't, then it's surgery. Go in, cut that bastard tumor out, and hopefully, that will be that. On the other hand, if it's spread. Well, I'm going to just stick my head in a pile of sand for now. We'll deal with that if it happens.

What this means is that, I'll be sticking with the day job. It keeps me busy, it keeps me focussed on something else, means I'm not staring the monster in the face. The writing, however, may have to take a back seat. As much as I love to write, I can't write with so much in the air. I need security and certainty before I can relax into a writing frame of mind.

So that's pretty much it. I don't think I'll be blogging much about the cancer. There's plenty of very good blogs out there that cover all aspects of the disease and its effects on people. I'm not going to add much to the discussion. I just thought that I'd better get this news 'out there' in case anyone wonders about vague Facebook status updates, or passive aggressive tweets. All of this business has made a few of my personal 'filters' slide a little. I may be blunter than usual, I may be less inclined to offer sympathy for broken fingernails or faulty fridges. There are more important things to worry about.

There's my husband, my best friend. He drives me mad sometimes but he's gotten under my skin over the last 17 years. I'd like to think he'll be around for many more. Ten years from now, I want to hear his key in the lock at the end of the working day. Twenty years from now, I still want to wake up with him hogging the bed. I can't imagine him not being there.  There's also our son. I want him to know that his Dad is going to be around for a while, to tell him off for slouching on the settee and for parking his nasty feet on the coffee table.

I'll be staying online. I work from home. The virtual world is my lifeline. I have good friends there and, if the power of positive thinking and virtual hugs has an effect, then the cancer will be banished for good.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Now you know what's what.