Friday, 22 February 2013

The Last Zapping..

This past week has had its fair share of issues like when having my heart checked for starting Herceptin. Mr Nice who was doing the imaging thought I had not started my Chemotherapy treatment yet, so the baseline images are of a heart that has had 6 sessions of FEC and 17 zaps of rads. The way Mr Nice was talking I should have had it done well before treatment started. Confusing, well the conversation was for me too, trust me. Anyway I go to have a chat at The Maggie Cancer Center to ease my concerns. And whilst they found this unusual they said it might be because of age and fitness that they have changed procedure on imaging the heart.

Thankfully it is my last day of radiotherapy and people are encouraging me to celebrate, but to have a lay in with the remote without the worry is good enough for me. Personally if I could just leap off this conveyor belt without looking back would be bloody fantastic. And trust me Mr temptation is waving it's flag. 

By and by I still keep myself busy with everything and anything. On my own I went down to Leicester square after a zapping. I wanted to see in person Richard Gere. Crazy yes, but the two movies I love watching are ‘Officer and a Gentleman’ and ‘Pretty Woman’. And adding Richard Gere’s autograph to Sophia's Collection is a must. It was freezing, but worth the distraction of being there.

Then the following day I had a Touch Look Check event I had helped organize, 
so life goes on ticking.

I and Theresa

Monday, 11 February 2013

Do You Own Your Cancer?

As I sat in the corridor waiting to receive the 16
th zapping from the radiotherapy machine a familiar face sits beside me. Your daughter is not with you today? I shake my head saying no not today she is at school. The women smiles and continues to talk about how children today can be so demanding, but never think how those demands take their toll. The conversation continues revolving around family and friends and how some drop to the wayside while others become over protective on the cancer journey.

Then I say well I’ve had my cancer for three years now.

The sixty something black Caribbean women turned to me and said, but you don’t have ownership surely? I look at her puzzled. The correct words are, ‘This cancer’ or ‘the cancer’. To say my cancer or your cancer implies you have some sort of control or responsibility for it being there. And personally I think that is utter rubbish no-one has ownership of cancer.
I look at this woman and for once in three years someone actually made sense. She continued it is not your fault that you use the word my so readily because from young you are conditioned to use it, but there are times when certain words have no room within a sentence.

This woman is right we are conditioned to feel responsible, but truthfully that is wrong. She turns to me surely if we are responsible then why all this difficulty in finding a cure? The women never finished the conversation because it was my turn to be zapped, but she is bloody right.

I think the word ownership is something we all should examine with thought. After all we do not have a copyright on cancer. If someone did then we would know this individual. I did not wake up and say well today I’ll have cancer, but this is what this lovely woman is trying to say. There is no room at this Inn because no-one truly has the responsibility for this disease.

The minute we are diagnosed we are dragged along with the pink confetti adding confusion to our heightened emotional state from being diagnosed. From there our tears are swamped and dulled by the lets be strong beating out loud. And the words ‘MY’ and ‘YOUR’ are used as if we have control over cancer. This in turn develops guilt and the feeling of responsibility of even developing this disease.
But who truly has ownership of cancer people?

Friday, 8 February 2013

Luxury Coffee V's Broken Rad's Machine

As I climb on board the central line tube to White City I receive a phone call from the big C hospital. Yet again one of the radiotherapy machines has broken down creating chaos within the department. It is kind of ironic because as the receptionist is explaining the situation I’m reading an article in the Metro highlighting the latest goof within our Bill and Ben government.

Under the headline ‘Cups and robbers’ MP's wanted to recruit four barista’s to serve luxury coffee. These barista's will be paid £20,173 for 39 hours work. Other perks that come with this job include reduced gym membership fees, an interest-free season ticket loan and a child care voucher scheme, as well as the statutory 28 days of holiday a year.

And then I hear the receptionist say they are cancelling my radiotherapy slot for today. I was not a happy bunny receiving this news. It says five weeks of radiotherapy, and I’m having five weeks of radiotherapy. 
When I say I’m ten minutes away the receptionists says she can find me a slot, but it would mean waiting around. It is cancer that does not wait I say to myself unlike this Yorkshire women.

I finished my phone call and I look at the article shaking my head. Since when did the delivery of a luxury coffee take priority over a machine that saves lives? Why can’t MP’s have a self-service centre like on the Chemotherapy wards or Radiotherapy?

A cancer patient can travel to a hospital and still manage to walk down a hallway to pour themselves a not so luxury cuppa on a freezing cold morning. Why can't a MP?

Monday, 4 February 2013

Pro-active Patients Strikes Back Again!

Two weeks completed of radiotherapy three weeks left, but yet again I have to chase something that should be routinely done. A portacap should be flushed every four weeks as routine and it is now the 4th February. Yet again the pro-active patient strikes back preventing another cock-up. How did I know it should be flushed well when the damn thing was fitted I asked lots of questions.
I have read in numerous articles recently how patients should be more in touch with their cancer treatment, but to actually remind medical staff at a cancer training hospital you have forgot to book a flush for portacap you fitted is taking the pro-active bit to far. This device now no longer needed for chemo treatment is actually vital for the infusion of my Herceptin which starts in March. What would clinic 6 have done if I had not shown interest and instead waited until they got in touch? What blame the patient or maybe sweep it under the carpet and press the Opps button! Or use the veins that are still throbbing from the damage done from two cycles of FEC75 J!

Well clearly the NHS is over stretched and those that are bothered can’t do diddly squat about reversing the staff shortage. 

In the UK the NHS is being crippled with mismanagement and the government freezing and closure of departments. The constant breakdown of radiotherapy machines is not a priority with Bill and Ben who run our country. No they have canap├ęs and best brandy in Westminster that are a necessity. But when push comes to shove they can always turn to the private sector for treatment when the NHS is finally brought to its knees. Yes I am being slightly sarcastic… and I did not vote the flower pot men in.