Well, where to start???? Today has been an eventful day and - for a change! - pretty much all of it has been good.
Today's the day I was due to find out the definitive medical view of my cancer - what type, if the parotid was the primary cancer or if I have a primary site elsewhere, and what my treatment will be (please note the use of the Oxford comma in this sentence....). So a pretty momentous day for us.
Most of you also know that our lovely daughter, Amy, has been travelling the world since July last year - and when I say "travelling the world", I mean it literally! She started by driving with two (girl) friends in a tiny car to Mongolia, for charity, and then carried on backpacking around South East Asia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, a whole host of South American countries and ending up in New York and Rhode Island before spending a couple of months travelling round America with an old university friend - or so we thought!! Imagine our reaction when our doorbell rang this morning just before we were due to leave for the Marsden and on opening the door - there stands our daughter, all long limbed, blonde haired and grinning from ear to ear. Well, I tell you, it's the best medicine I could have had!! The whole scene was enhanced by her clutching a bottle of pink Moet to hand over to me :-)
It was just so wonderful to see her, as we hadn't been expecting her before mid-September. There were tears and smiles, as you can imagine! We found out that lots of people knew about her planned return, including our son and our hairdresser - yes, Amy being Amy, she had got her priorities right and had arranged to have her hair done at midday today!!
Unfortunately, we had to leave almost straight away to get to hospital for my appointment with the consultant, so after a very brief catch-up, Neil and I left for the Marsden. When we got there, after waiting for about fifteen minutes in the waiting area, there was an announcement that the clinic was running approximately 50 minutes late, so we could have stayed at home a bit longer, had we known. In the end, I was seen about 1 hour and 40 minutes after my appointment time, but we didn't mind - if patients need extra time with the consultant, then there's a reason, whether it's because of some complication or a need for reassurance. One day, I might be the patient needing that extra time with the doctor and I would hate to think that other patients wouldn't recognise and appreciate that.
And the outcome of the consultant meeting? My setback last week was because the information from the hospital where I had my surgery gave two different diagnoses: for the technical-minded, these were adenocarcinoma and squamous carcinoma. The consultant today said that she could give me some answers - yay!! The reason for the ambiguity was because, in fact, I have both types! I am now officially recognised as having adenosquamous carcinoma (try saying that after a couple of drinks!!). It's pretty unusual, so it would appear I have a rare rare cancer - well, come on now, we didn't expect me to be ordinary, did we? The consultant was also able to confirm that, after the MDT had spent a long time going through all the results and scans (she showed us the analysis sheets to confirm this), they were able to confirm (or at least are as certain as they can be) that the parotid cancer is the primary site. This is a huge relief, as it means there's nothing nasty lurking elsewhere and I don't need any further tests or - horror of horrors - more surgery. Huge relief, as you can imagine.
After a bit of lunch at the hospital, I had my mask fitting. That was an interesting experience - blue plastic moulded to my face, with some holes to breathe through, and the whole thing bolted to the table to keep me absolutely still while the radiation beams are working their magic. I have to go back on Monday for a CT scan during which the experts will plan exactly where the radiation beams will hit me and programme it all into the computer so that when radiotherapy starts, on July 27th, everything is set up. We worked out that altogether I will be getting about 10 hours of radiation over the 6 weeks so I shall definitely have that inner glow - what a shame it's not the middle of winter and I could save on the central heating bill :-)
Oh, there's loads more I could write, but I am too tired after such an exciting day. What a refreshing and welcome change to be able to report a day of only good things happening. I know the radiotherapy will be gruelling and that the side effects will be pretty unpleasant, but now I have all my little family around me, I have more people to help me cope.
And.....I have some magnificent, multi-coloured South American knitwear ......including some very funky stripey socks which are gracing my feet as I type :-D
Signing off for the evening now on what has been a happy, happy Friday :-D