Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Good news and bad news and gory details.

Saw the specialist yesterday and he had the results of the PET scan that I had a couple of weeks ago.

As I expected, my disease is at Stage III, as it is also present in my neck and my armpits. I knew this without him having to tell me, as in both areas feel the glands, as if recovering from a dose of the flu. The recommended therapy is still "no treatment" though. Just have to keep waiting. At least I don't have any "B" symptoms as yet - something else to look forward too!

He also did the bone marrow biopsy yesterday. If you've never had one, you just cannot know what it's like. A bit like childbirth, I suppose :-)

I had to lay on the table, with my trousers round my knees and my lower back exposed. Knees are drawn up to the chest in order to stretch the skin and muscles at the base of the spine above the buttocks. The skin is then anaesthetised and a needle inserted so as to mark the route for the biopsy needle. The doctor then takes this needle, which is about 5mm in diameter, hollow, about 100 mm long and with a t-bar handle. Very much like a gimlet, or the tool that cheesemakers use to extract a core of cheese from the middle of a round. With the tool (it's not really a needle...) he then pushes into the flesh, and ultimately into the top of the pelvis. Merely by pushing and twisting very, very hard, he gets the needle through the hard outer bone, and into the softer marrow inside. At least, that's the theory.

And this is where the good news comes in. I have very hard bones. So hard, that he was struggling to get this tool into the bone and through to the marrow. After about 20 minutes, in which time the patient has to keep still, yet push against the force of the tool, (so as to avoid being pushed onto the floor) he managed to extract a core of marrow about 5mm long - just enough to do the biopsy. Although it doesn't hurt as such, it's a very odd feeling having someone try to force his way into your skeleton. I could feel the pressure in my coccyx and even in my toes. It's hard work for both patient and doctor.

As always, the tests on this small piece of marrow ill take a couple of weeks to come through. I am hoping, of course, that the disease hasn't spread into the marrow already (that would take me to Stage IV), but we just have to wait and see, again. If it's clear, the doctor doesn't want to see me again until October. Otherwise, he'll see me straight away and decide what to do about the marrow.

The Leitax mounts arrived yesterday, as predicted, and I fitted them to the 28mm and the 60mm Macro. Although I haven't had much chance to play yet, I am very impressed so far. More at the weekend.


  1. Sounds awful :-( Hang in there fella.

  2. my thoughts are with you Andy.
    I think it is important for you to continue writting this blog, I never really understood what was envolved with cancer, like most people I thought there was a cure for all cancers, or maybe that is me not being aware of whats is going on today.
    That's why you have an important role, if others can learn buy your own expierance, you will achieve a great deal!

    Good luck, Andy I am sure you are in the thoughts of many persons!

    India LFU