Thursday, 12 November 2009

news from a broad

Hello all. Apparently people are still looking at this (which is nice to know, do keep your feedback coming!)so here's an update.

I had another MRI scan (the one that makes loud clangy noises and is a claustrophobic's nightmare) to check for spread to the liver. I confess I did think they'd done that but apparently it was only the neck they checked last time for spread to the bone. They had recommended follow-up of the liver from the CT scan to monitor it generally as there were some ambiguous things that showed up, but I think they have got a little alarmed by the fact that all the lymph nodes under my arm were affected so they have now gone for this MRI ahead of the oncology appointment. Not the best news.

Quite funny though. I turned up with Jackie (who having been through the mill on all this with Harry knows this stuff backwards, as well as how to be the ultimate advocate and is a star!) to be met with a tut-tut, slightly despairing shake of the head and the news that they can't do MRIs sooner than 6 weeks after surgery (with the clear implication that the surgeon should jolly well know that). I explained that my original appt for 30th November had been cancelled and brought forward by my cancer team because they want to start my chemo at the end of November, and that presumably they will have explained that (ha!) when they asked for it to be scheduled sooner. YYeeessss...

So the radiologist came out and explained to me that because the MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, it really does what it says on the tin, and so they don't like to do it before the titanium clips have healed over properly in case the magnets wrench them out. Jackie: what titanium clips? Radiologist: the ones they use to seal off the blood flow during surgery. Jackie: and they're still in there? Radiologist: yes. (me in thought bubble: obviously! how could I not know that?).

However he then helpfully reassures us that this is only a theoretical risk (as opposed to a real one where things actually do happen?)and he's happy to go ahead. So with images of bits of metal flying out of me at speed and sticking to the machine, I ask him if he could perhaps phone my surgeon to find out if the chemo should be postponed to allow for this. Just so as to avoid the (only theoretical) possibility of mass internal haemorrhaging because I have haemorrhaphobia. Wussy I know. And to be fair he very obligingly does just that and comes back to say that the surgeon is happy for me to go ahead. That's all right then! so I do, and I'm delighted to say that no clips that I did not know were left inside me have come undone that I can tell and I haven't had massive internal bleeding. Which is nice!

You'd think the different disciplines would communicate this sort of routine thing and that they'd know all this, wouldn't you? Perhaps they do and it's all to do with targets. Who knows?

So in theory the next step is that the results are done in time to be reported to the multi-disciplinary team meeting where they discuss me next Wednesday morning and I then go to hear the results and my treatment plan later on that morning (10.45). Gives me something to look forward to. Thanks Jackie for being with me - you really do need that second pair of ears with you for these things. Not so much to hear and understand things that you, as the distracted patient, miss as to witness the occasional you-couldn't-make-it-up factor.

Out with Karen and Helen for lunch tomorrow (now that does give me something to look forward to!)


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