Friday, 7 November 2008
Part Eleven - Scantastic News
I received my C.T. scan results today, and I think they can only really be described as C.T-rrific. I’m aware that I’ve already used that pun as my Facebook status, but it made me laugh so much that I had little choice but to use it again and it will definitely be said at least twice more by the time that this blog ends. Sadly, that will probably be the extent of your laughter in this blog as it’s going to be very much more medical than any of the preceding ones. It must be bourn in mind that this is a serious medical journal which will almost definitely be passed down through the ages to millions of cancer patients, and I can’t sully it by talking about my balls all of the time. I’ll leave that kind of crude filth down to Lance Armstrong, nemesis of Cancerous Capers, who’s woeful book is called “It’s Not About The Bike” - a fact that should probably be followed up with “Because it’s actually all about my filthy bollocks” in small print. When will the corrupting influence of this smut monger be stopped?
I read all of my blog entries from start to finish earlier on this week because I am a vastly egotistical man and can think of no better way to spend my time than laughing at words that have been written exclusively by me. Shockingly, I realised that I’ve never actually told you what Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is or where about in my body it was affecting me - two things that could be considered quite essential seeing as this entire blog is about nothing but my inspiring battle with this awful disease…oh and my balls, it is sometimes about my balls. It’s with this in mind that I feel I need to educate you before explaining my results. Now here comes the science, as Jennifer Anniston once childishly bemoaned in an advert for VO5 shampoo.
Lymphoma is a blood cancer which manifests itself in the lymph nodes, small organs that you have all over your body which produce white blood cells to fight infection. It slowly but surely spreads from lymph node to lymph node through your blood and, by the time I was diagnosed, I was affected in four areas of my body putting me at a slightly alarming stage three of a possible four. If I had waited much longer it very well could have moved onto my lungs or my bone marrow and made my recovery a much less likely prospect. As it happens, however, things are looking rosy and the doctor expects my final chemotherapy session in January to be the last I’ll hear from the disease. Because my CT results were C.T-rrific.
Of the four places in which I was affected - the lymph nodes in my neck, the outside of my lung, my spleen and my stomach for those of you taking notes - three of them are now considered to be of little significance and the largest of them, the one in my neck, has quartered in size since my diagnosis. On top of this, I’m feeling healthier than I have done for ages which I think confirms what everyone knew all along - having cancer and undergoing an intensive chemotherapy regime is far more beneficial to my everyday health than my Glasgow lifestyle ever was. However, my place in student history is now assured - the fable of ‘the fresher who partied so hard that he got cancer’ will surely be passed down as a cautionary tale to all fresh-faced eighteen year olds who think that it‘s either big or clever to drink Somerfield’s own-brand whisky in pint form and only clean their ensuite toilet twice in a nine month spell. The first being on Valentine’s Day as I’m a big romantic bastard and the second of which being the night before I moved out so that, after they inspected my room, they wouldn’t phone my mum and tell on me. Anyway, I digress - rejoice, cancer fans, for I am well on the way to recovery.
One thing I’ll definitely miss when I’m cured are the fantastically awkward situations that having cancer conjures up almost daily. Almost everyone seems desperate not to offend me, to the extent that grown men can be reduced to the human equivalent to one of those cowering, spindly dogs you see on RSPCA adverts. Amazingly, earlier this week I received a begging call from Cancer Research. Now, call me silly, but if there were one organisation that I would expect to come in frequent contact with cancer patients it would be one called ‘Cancer Research’ - the name is the giveaway. However, this appears not to be the case. “Mr. Ross, do you have any personal experience of cancer?” “Well, mate, now that you mention it…”. The man literally gasped, stumbled over the simplest of words, apologised at least seven times and then comfortingly proclaimed that “less people die of cancer now than ever”. Needless to say, I slept soundly that night with this nugget of information in mind.
It’s not just him either. I don’t know the extent of your knowledge when it comes to CT scanning but, basically, it creates a 3D x-ray of your entire body which shows up odd lumps that shouldn’t be there. This is what makes it ideal in discovering the extent of cancer within the body, and I imagine a vast percentage of people who get CT scans are cancer patients. This fact appears to have bypassed one bumbling CT nurse who led me to the changing room where I was told to remove my clothing and replace it with a hospital gown. “Can I keep my hat on?” I asked. I’m not bald by anyone‘s standards but my hair is certainly getting very thin and, being an incredibly vain man, I now tend to keep it concealed underneath a black Led Zeppelin hat in public. “Why, are you cold?” she replied. Yes, that’s exactly it. You’ve got it in one. It’s not as if I’m here exclusively for a scan, that you personally specialise in, to check upon the effects of three months of intensive chemotherapy which has made me slightly self-conscious about my hair at all. She then no doubt went off making crass suggestions to all number of people in the hospital, asking women in wheelchairs if they were feeling a bit lazy today or reassuring children in the burns unit that at least they’ll get a nice tan when the scarring heals. In fact, you could say that her people skills were anything but C.T-rrific.
Anyway, it’s been a good week. Barack Obama was amazingly elected in the USA, Jeremy Clarkson could get sacked after years of being the world‘s worst man, I’ve been told that I’m making excellent progress and I’ve finally managed to track down a sitar so my new hobby can kick off. It just makes you wonder what absolute shit storm is heading my way, find out next week.
P.S. www.cancerouscapers.blogspot.com - If you like this tell your friends or, alternatively, if you think it’s shit tell your enemies to mildly annoy them by wasting a few minutes of their time.
P.P.S. A small bit of advice to every single person on Facebook. Photographs of fireworks are never, ever interesting. You are wasting the internet.