Well all is done at last. The final trip inside the deep fat fryer and a farwell both regretful and joyous.
Joyous because I have completed the course and regretful because the lovely radiographers who have become part of my life are no more. Events in their lives have given me enjoyment and hence enriched my life so the Lurking Lump has actually brought its own peculiar benefits.
It has given me brief insights into other peoples lives as they cope with the stress of cancer and battle with their own inevitable fears. I appreciate that attendance at a hospital creates its own mental strains but as patients we would do well to remember that staff work long hours and that their care for sick and suffering brings its own stresses. The one place where I saw constant conflict was the post-treatment waiting room with a constant under-current of complaints that the hospital transport / taxi service was running late. The free taxi service … which we all pay for.
I have nothing but admiration for the staff who treated me and praise for the efficiency and speed with which my condition was treated. The staff who treated me were an extra-ordinary group of people working to serve others. Indeed, there are many who are just working for a living (often quite a poor living) but the front line staff invariably are passionate about their work. Their constant consideration for the well being of others is a marked contrast to many facets of modern life where profit is the primary motive and the ostentatious display of wealth to mark their supposed status is the ultimate goal.
The treatment is not without its effects. I seem to get tired more easily and the subsequent hormone treatment to suppress the production of testosterone which might support any recurrence of the cancer is having a definite impact. I am inclined to put on weight, especially around my waist, I get hot flushes which even awaken me at night and I am losing all bodily hair Worst of all, I have lost any interest, and I suspect all ability, to make love to my wife. But before this becomes a litany of suffering, all I have to do is consider the alternative.
And here I am after an nine month journey, still alive. It has been an interesting trip. There have been moments of despair, of discomfort and frustration. But there have also been moments of real pleasure and joy and a realisation that there are so many people out there who are determined to help. There are doctors and scientists who are striving to understand one’s condition and provide a cure: there are nurses to offer support and hold one’s hand, there are radiographers toiling to ensure the Mekon Death Ray is frying the right bit.
So a dodgy blood test reading, a questing finger up my anus, scans, biopsies, drugs, radiation, peeing on the scanner table are all behind me. Inevitably, life has changed but the reality is that the Lurking Lump has gone and I am still here.
And that is down to so many fantastic people.