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Archive for April, 2018

A promise made good.


At the conclusion of my last post I perhaps foolishly promised to present you with good news about my condition. Foolish in the sense that I have very little control over the alien mutating cells that are impervious to the body’s natural defenses and are intent upon invading and ultimately assassinating the host.

If the self can be defined as an amorphous combination of thoughts, aims, imaginings, ego, memories, intention, then we can claim to have some degree of autonomy, of self regulation, of self determination over these. But to the cellular self, the host, we cannot make any such claim. Our cellular structure, without our knowledge, awareness or consent can act against itself and, in a subversive, anarchic and often disastrous manner proceed to carry out what it is so well equipped to do.

Yet The Alien has chosen a poor time to attempt its nefarious activities. As a consequence of the progress of medical science, the ongoing research, trials and testing, the boundaries of what is possible in terms of improving and extending the quality of life, together with the successful treatments, are rapidly extending. I count myself quite fortunate to have acquired my type of cancer at such an opportunistic time. Really.

I have now been on Prostap slow release HT for two months. Last week saw the first meaningful results of this treatment. And, at this point, I am so pleased to be able to present to you the promised good news. My PSA level has plummeted from 14.9 to 1.3 and my T-level to 0.2. In just eight weeks. Some powerful cocktail this Prostap. Perhaps my foolishness may be interpreted as optimism, belief, hope. One must always have hope. I have always kept in mind “To live without hope is to cease to live”. I forget the source.

This means that The Alien is now starved of testosterone, off which it feeds, flourishes, survives. Its progress will now be slowed and hopefully, at the same time, the enlarged prostate will be reduced in size which, in turn, will enable the RT to be more effective.

It is a powerful brew this potion. There can be side effects, different for each patient. I am quite breathless on exertion. I am slowly, reluctantly, accepting and putting into practice the good advice given to me by Nurses Florence and Beth, namely to recognise my new limitations. So, I have slowed my speed of walking to a sometimes barely perceptible forward motion so I do not become breathless. Stairs and inclines present a challenge. Four weeks ago I was ascending the steps at a tram station. Slowly. I had to pause halfway up and practice my now familiar fish- out- of- water- gasping act. Two elderly ladies came past me trailing their shopping trolleys, engaged in conversation. I was buried in an avalanche of conflicting emotions, so much so that I was unable to select any particular one upon which to fulminate. Florence, Beth, new limitations. This, the reality.

Again, the good news is that slowly my breathlessness is becoming less breathless. On the level I can sweep past any 4 year old, easy prey. They can’t focus. Soon I will be challenging the infirm and ancient. Well, progress has to be measured somehow.

And I am perpetually exhausted. I get up in the morning and I am running on empty. It is often difficult to achieve anything that involves thinking, reasoning or movement. Falling asleep in a chair, on a tram is effortless. Morpheus always has his hand near to my shoulder. Perhaps this is a causal effect of running on nil testosterone. Testosterone is given to athletes to improve performance. Zero testosterone …..? My composing is suffering collateral damage, it is a major casualty. I find it almost impossible to maintain concentration, focus for any length of time before Morpheus intervenes.

But it is working. It is doing what it says on the label. I am so fortunate to be a successful recipient of modern medical science when so many people are not. There is a long challenging path ahead. 34 months of HT and in August a month of RT. I can do this. I have my own resolve and so many people batting for me. And, once again, I wish to thank all of you who are concerned about my health. Not only the people who know me, perhaps through my music, but those from distant countries who are following my progress, or to use Florence’s term “journey”. I hope this post is some small reward for your support.

Lastly I cannot think of a pseudonym for my oncologist, Dr. James Wiley. Nurse Blond, The Cricketer, The Arbiter, Florence came so easily. But not so for Dr. Wiley. Any suggestions will be welcome via WordPress.

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