Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Some GREAT news, an update and 4 year Cancerversary

Hi all!

I went back last week for my pre appointment blood test. Apart from being told off for putting my coffee cup on her table, it was rather unexciting and I hardly even felt the needle going in. Win.

As I turned up for my appointment to see the haematologist, for the first time in a very long time, I felt a bit nervous. I had no reason to. I hadn't felt any different to normal. Was a bit strange. I always request to see the same doctor every time as he knows me the best and was in charge of all my treatment. Half an hour after my scheduled appointment, he came out the office and announced that all those waiting to see him would be delayed. In my eyes, that only meant one thing. That either I, or someone else before me was receiving bad news and having an extended appointment. That made the nerves even greater.

An hour later after scheduled, he called my name. As I took a seat, we went through the usual questions, what I was up to at the moment, how I'd been feeling, any symptoms etc. He told me that my bloods were completely normal and was rather unremarkable as far as symptoms were concerned. He went on to explain, that because of the way I handled the chemo, the aggressive chemo and the transplant, that chances of reoccurrence fall due to having handled it relatively well. That was great news.

He also went on to say, that either from the next appointment, or the one after that, I could be completely discharged! This is the only context I ever like hearing the word Discharge. I couldn't have hoped to hear anything better! However, when he did say that, I did feel slightly sad at the fact I would never be back there. It has been such a major part of my life for the last four years, so if and when I eventually get discharged from his care, it will be very strange and the whole saga will officially be behind me!

Every year that has passed, I still can't get over the fact that all this happened to me. I still think a lot about everything that I went through, from diagnosis, treatment and now remission. The whole story still seems so surreal!

Next stage is to carry on as normal until I go back to see him again next Summer!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Pre Cancerversary Update

Hi all! My sincere apologies that it has taken me this long to update my blog. I can't think of a genuine excuse as to why, but I thought this would be a good time as I am now approaching four years post diagnosis!!

In my last post, it was the day before I was due to "go under the knife", used in the loosest possible way, to have the collagen cross linking procedure. As mentioned, it wasn't in order to fix my eyesight, which is what most laser surgery entails, but merely to prevent it from getting worse. On the day I was naturally quite nervous. Not as nervous as I had been for previous procedures, but a different kind of nervous. This was one of the first surgeries, where I would be wide awake. That was the scary part. When you have a general anaesthetic, you go into a room, are either gassed or have an IV anaesthetic and the next thing you know, you are awake again, completely clueless as to what has happened to you in the last couple of hours.

For this procedure, I was wide awake, talking to the surgeon as he was operating in my eye. My eye was taped open, which was very uncomfortable and I was given anaesthetic in the form of eye drops and as I lay there talking to the surgeon, I could smell burning. This was the laser in my eye, doing whatever it was meant to be doing. I wasn't expecting to be able to smell the burning and that was, of course, bizarre.

I can't really describe what the rest of the procedure was like without wanting to throw up a little. There was poking and prodding in my eye and the whole thing only lasted about 20 minutes! He put in a "bandage" contact lens which was meant to stay in for about 3 weeks but it came out after about a week after I rubbed my eye... I was sent home with a massive bag of eye drops, four different kinds which all did different things and obviously had to be put in at different times of the day for the next month. The first day was very uncomfortable and the light very sensitive, but after about 24 hours, it all settled and I carried on with the drops.

The surgeon had mentioned the potential for getting glasses, which didn't phase me. He did say wait a couple of months for it to heal, as it is a slow procedure. A couple of months later, I am now a full time glasses wearer, albeit mainly for my left eye.

My next haematology appointment is at the end of this month, so no doubt will have another update then! This one will hopefully not come 6 months late!

Until then... Peace Out!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Lasers and and update

Last week I went back from my 6 monthly check up with my haematologist. After waiting for over an hour to see him (which is quite short!) we got called in. I had had my blood test the week before which was quick and painless (thankfully!) He had a look at my results and was very happy. Last time I had tingling in my fingers which we put down to nerve damage in my arm from the way I lean on my desk at work, which was resolved with a cushion... If only everything had been that easy! We had our usual chats about any symptoms I may have had, which I didn't and he then had a feel around my neck and under my arms for any lumps. I was lump free! Always a relief! He went on to say how from then on, my appointments would then be annually, rather than 6 monthly. That was fantastic to hear! I will be going back in 10 months however, as my parents didn't want to wait that long... Not to worry!

That's all on the cancer and haematology front!

In previous blogs I've mentioned my eyes and the condition which they discovered post shingles, Keretaconus. Very easy to remember this one as it is pronounced like everyone's favourite member of Atomic Kitten and Queen of Iceland adverts, Kerry Katona. This is where the cornea is changing shape and is causing blurred vision in my left eye. They will be fixing this tomorrow at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London with a procedure called Collagen Cross linking with Laser PTK. I've been telling people it's sort of like laser eye surgery (as there is a laser involved) except it is a condition that can't be fixed, but only prevented from getting worse. It is surgery and there will be eye drop anaesthetic, bright lights and a load of other fun things... The doctor said it will be very uncomfortable afterwards and I'm likely to be very sensitive to the light. Thank god they're only doing it in one eye!

I've been asked numerous times whether I'm nervous or scared. And to be honest. I'm not. Having been through everything I've been through, this doesn't seem anywhere near as scary in comparison! For one, there'll be no needles! Which in my eyes (pun) is always a winner! A bone marrow aspiration with a 12 inch needle in my hip, chemo and a stem cell transplant can't really be trumped in terms of scary procedures! The fact that I hopefully won't go blind is also a plus!

The eye surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, so I'll update again soon, albeit through my good eye :)