Saturday, 2 November 2013

an early morning, a late night and some bits in between

Most people with mesothelioma seem to have scans every three months to check what's happening inside, whereas Steve's three monthly hospital assessment has usually been preceded by an X-ray.  Scans have only been used when the X-ray shows up something of concern, as a base line before treatment and to assess response during and following a chemo regime.  

It looks like the local approach is now shifting towards what happens elsewhere, with more frequent scans to get a better picture of any changes.  Steve's previous scan was earlier this year in late February after finishing six cycles of chemo (pemetrexed and carboplatin).  X-rays in June and September have now been followed up by another scan, as Dr T thought it was about time to compare what's happening now with the one taken 8 months ago.  

Nothing to eat for two hours before the scan appointment scheduled for 9.45 am, hence what was (for us) an early morning!  The scan itself was uneventful, apart from the usual problem of not being able to find a vein first time round for the injection of contrast dye which helps the radiologist measure areas of pleural thickening and nodules of cancer growth.

The late night referred to in the title of today's blog was after a day out in London.  We arrived in time for an early lunch at Gordon's Wine Bar in Villiers Street - reputedly the oldest wine bar in London and worth seeking out if you are in the Charing Cross area. 

Then on to the National Gallery to see "Facing the Modern" an exhibition of portraits painted in Vienna around the turn of the century, including work by Gustav Klimpt and Egon Schiele (making up for just missing the Schiele exhibition on our recent visit to Budapest).  

Fortified by coffee and pastries, we headed off to Portland Place for a behind the scenes tour of Broadcasting House, the home of BBC Radio and Music, the World Service and News.  

It was fascinating to look down into the news room level from the media cafe and see the weather forecast being presented in its own dedicated studio space in the big new extension which opened earlier this year.  

We also sat in the BBC Radio Theatre in old Broadcasting House, where news bulletins had been broadcast throughout the war, even as a bomb ripped through the building.  

For those brave (or foolhardy) enough to have a go, there were opportunities to read the news or present the weather to camera, or take part in a short radio play, with sound effects.  

Sadly, the photo opportunities were few and far between, whilst security was tighter than expected (we were frisked and had bags scanned twice, even though we had been under the eye of two tour guides the whole time).  However, it was a fascinating insight into modern day broadcasting that seemed more meaningful when you were there, rather than reading about it online.

Our last event of the day was attending the launch of the RPS International Exhibition of Images for the Screen, which includes a couple of my photos.  An interesting collection of images, although we were surprised by the repetition of some of popular themes. 

After a long and eventful day out, we were dozing in our seats on the train journey home.  Really must learn to pace ourselves a bit better...  But perhaps it was the early morning start of the previous day catching up with us!

The bits in between include a continuation of the house de-clutter, with more stuff recycled, more bags to the charity shop, and some odds and ends sold on eBay, including a family-sized suit case which will (we were told by the successful bidder) be stuffed with clothes and taken to an orphanage in India.  Had we known that, we'd have happily donated the case to such a good cause!

No blood, but with lots of sweat, a few choice words and just a few millimetres to spare, we managed to get the ottoman bed base upstairs and into the guest bed room, moving that project another small step forward.  When the new mattress is delivered next week, it will be finished at long last! 

It's now less than five weeks to Steve's next assessment on 5 December, coincidentally the same day that fellow meso warrior Mavis (diagnosed in June 2009, like Steve) will be having her assessment.  We will all be going through "scanxiety" together.  Now the days are shorter and the weather colder, it's time to plan lots of things to do indoors to distract ourselves in the meantime. 

As always, we are thinking of fellow meso warriors and carers, especially those having it tough for whatever reason. I said in my last post that there are moments when Steve feels guilty about how well he's doing when so many others are going through difficult and heartbreaking times.  I was touched and relieved by those who responded that we shouldn't feel that way. Thank you all so much.  

Enjoy the fireworks but stay safe!

Post Scrip:  I have added another meso blog to the collection.  Click on "Lorraine's Journey with mesothelioma" under We Are Not Alone (top right) to find out more about how mesothelioma is treated in China

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