Friday, 24 June 2011


Six games to a set, 6 balls to an over, 6 cycles in a treatment regime.

I may be stretching the point but perhaps there are some common themes to our summer.  Actually, that really is stretching the point isn’t it but I needed an introduction, Janine is lying on the sofa watching Andy Murray, I wish we were watching the cricket and it all sort of came to me.

The fact that Janine is lining on the sofa tells those of you who don’t know yet that she has finished that last cycle of chemo and is home recovering.  In fact, she has been home a week and, having recovered very well with minimal side effects, enters her neutropenic phase today.  She even felt well enough last night to grace the Brakenhale School Prom.  “I’ll only be an hour”.  Yeah, right. 

The plan from here is a scan on the 4th July, the results on the 7th and, provided these show she is still in remission (and there is no reason at all to think that they won’t) to have her PICC line removed and to begin recovery in earnest.  I might reflect then on the last six months (aha !) but I thought for now I’d finish with some pictures of the first and the last visits to T16.  I'll leave you to decide what they might show.  I'm simply going to thank God that we are here where we are now.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Sixth Cycle

I imagine it is a sign that some of the intensity has gone out of a situation when the frequency of blogs on the subject dies down.  Well at least that’s what I’m telling myself as I realise I haven’t written for a while and haven’t even kept you up to date with how Janine fared with the 5th cycle of chemotherapy.  Very well is the answer to that and it was the best cycle yet both in terms of the side effects during the treatment and in the recovery.  Neutropenia passed by without so much as a degree in raised temperature. 

This is not the most elegant description and does not do justice to what remains serious treatment but these last few weeks really have felt like the fag end of a process.  You can feel thoughts starting to turn to life post treatment and the new - new normality to which we will need to adapt.  We’ve started asking about the programme of scans and check ups, the symptoms to watch for and how all this will fit with the scans and check ups for the sarcoma. 

Janine asked twice during cycle 5 whether cycle 6 is really necessary and was persuaded both times that it is though by different (and probably self-evident) arguments.  One that, should the cancer return, she would forever be wondering whether the 6th cycle might have prevented it.  The other that the likely next form of treatment would be stem cell transplant and she would want to give herself the best possible chance of avoiding that.

So we wait for the sixth cycle.  It should in theory have started this last week but didn’t.  Having thought that it would be good to have half term at home, Janine had asked if the cycle could be put back to at least tomorrow.  Last weekend, however, we talked it over and decided she might as well get on with it.  A bed became available on Wednesday but a random stomach upset meant she couldn’t be admitted.  That cleared up on Thursday but by then the bed had gone and it has not yet become available again.  We had thought she might be able to get in this evening but now even tomorrow is looking unlikely as there is no movement on the ward.

One of the things we can be thankful for over the last few weeks is that Janine did make it to her brother Matthew (Theodore  - it’s a family joke and you had to be there …)’s wedding to Sarah last weekend.  As some of you know, this was naturally a big date in The Patient’s calendar and she was determined to get there.  Dresses, shoes, bags and bling were purchased, wigs restyled, nails manicured and hotels booked.  The question was whether she would feel well enough to be there and, well, she did which was great for all concerned.  We had a thoroughly good time.

There really isn’t much else to tell you unless I were to bore you with the mundane comings and goings of what, for the most part, has been normal family life for the last month.  I can’t even say I have had any musings or leanings that are worth sharing.  I’ve sold our second car, been attempting to flog everything that isn’t nailed down on ebay, and generally trying to clear and tidy up - all of which you might want to analyse (reverse nesting of some sort ?).  I also got unduly excited about the most efficient way to hang the washing on our new rotary drier – but I’m taking that as a sign of the phase of life I am in and the assumption of certain domestic duties on my part the last time Janine was unwell, rather than a sign of impending emotional crisis.

I shall let you know when this cycle is done.  After that, we shall see where this goes.

Enjoy your week.