Wednesday 25 May 2016

Even Tinier Tim

Last week was a week of appointments, which saw me in Velindre three times with a trip to the dentist thrown in the middle for good measure. Over the last year or so my dentist has been reluctant to X Ray my mouth for fear of introducing extra radiation into the head while I'm undergoing treatment. This time, having the Velindre appointment so close to my dentist appointment reminded me to ask the oncologist whether that was necessary. The answer to that question was in simple terms, no. More specifically, the amount of extra radiation from a dental X-Ray is negligible. However, any dental treatment would be advised against while I'm on chemo due to the increased risk of infection and, as a result, there probably wouldn't be any point in introducing the extra radiation into the area when no action can be taken regardless of the results.

Following on from my dental check up I had my first trip to Velindre of the week for my first MRI scan since chemo began. I followed my standard procedure and turned up after minimal sleep so that I could try and kip through the scan, but didn't quite manage to drift off amidst all the bleeping and whirring reminiscent of R2D2 and Mrs R2D2 caught in an intimate moment just outside the scanner.

Two days later I was back in Velindre for a pre-chemo check up. I was weighed and found to be down to only 64kg, which is something I need to address as that puts me at a stone lighter than when I was diagnosed. Fortunately all that means is I need to increase my calorie intake and time in the gym, which I'm more than happy to do, doctor's orders or not. Because I wasn't seeing my usual oncologist as well as it only being two days after my MRI I wasn't expecting any results and so was surprised when the doctor began the appointment with "So shall I start with the scan results?".

Slightly wrong-footed by this surprise I mumbled something in the affirmative and he began:

"Well it's shrunk"
*Shocked silence*
"It's shrunk?"
"Yes, do you want to see the scan?"

He showed me the scan and, sure enough, the tumour had shrunk yet again. From 28.6mm at my last scan down to 25.5. This is a total of nearly 7mm from what it was when it was first discovered, all those months ago, which works out as roughly a 1/5 reduction of the diameter of the tumour since treatment began. So regardless of what else is going on the radiotherapy/chemotherapy pairing seems to be working at the moment.

Bearing this in mind I was positive en route to start my latest course of chemo a couple of days ago. However a chest infection has come along as a bit of a spanner in the works, meaning my chemo start date has been pushed back until next week. Looks like I'll have something to blog about sooner than I expected.