Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cheers and jeers

Well what an up and down couple of weeks it's been.

The biggest jeer should be reserved for Alistair Burt, a Conservative Health Minister, who scuppered the passing of a law which would have seen off-patent drugs (for conditions including cancer) made available to the National Health Service (NHS) at low prices.  Not only did Mr Burt filibuster the proposed legislation he also accused his opponents of "shroud waving".  Classy.  You can read more about it by clicking here or just take my word for it that the man is a total and utter shit.

The other crappy thing that happened was of a more personal nature.  I discovered a lump on my chest.  I only had a week or so to wait for the results of my recent CT scan so I knew I'd get answers fairly quickly but it certainly made the days approaching my oncology appointment even more stressful than usual.  Given the appearance of this lump I was convinced that my current chemo, Eribulin, wasn't working.  So imagine my surprise and delight when I was told that the cancer is currently stable.  The oncologist also had a good poke around my chest and said that she thought the lump was bone.  She's getting the radiologist to double check my scan but is fairly confident that the lump is nothing to worry about.  So the plan is now for me to continue on Eribulin and have another CT scan in January.  What a relief. 

Honestly, it was like the sun breaking through the cloud
There was more good news.  You may remember that a while back I was on a drug trial for a chemo called TDM1 (trade name Kadcyla).  This drug worked really well for me for 18 months with very limited side effects.  There has been a lot of hoo-ha about kadcyla due to its cost and there was a very real threat that it would be removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) meaning that it wouldn't be available to NHS patients.  However, a decision has been made to keep kadcyla on the CDF. Hallelujah.

Also on the plus side I have been diverted by having all three sisters in the UK and plaguing spending time with me. 

And I've been a right old culture vulture.  On the day before seeing my oncologist I took my mind off things by leaving the sticks and heading to London to see the British Museum's exhibition on the Celts.  Then, just a few days later, I went to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to check out the pre-Raphaelites and the Staffordshire Hoard.  While I was in Birmingham I also took the opportunity to visit the new shopping centre but, you will be relieved to hear, I didn't let this sully my pure and academic soul.  Please ignore any malicious rumours that I had to be dragged away sobbing from the cashmere jumpers in John Lewis.

Talking of shopping, it's not long until Christmas you know.  Don't hate me.  I'm trying to help.  You could order some beautiful cards from Ebay.   All proceeds will go to Second Hope (the new and only UK charity specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer).  Go on, you know you want to.