Friday, 20 May 2016

To the barricades

Picture from here
I daresay I shouldn't just nick photos from here, there and everywhere on the internet and stick them on this blog, but what do I care, I'm poorly, leave me alone.

Well surprisingly my appointment at the Christie came through a bit roger rapid, after last week's referral from my local hospital, and so yesterday the other-half and I made the trek up to Manchester to see if there were any clinical trials available.

Disconcertingly the doctor we saw was the living spit of Eddie Redmayne.  Somehow I resisted singing him a medley from Les Mis.  I hope you admire my restraint.  Anyway it seems, according to Dr Eddie, that there is a trial which could be just the ticket.  It's a bit similar to the TDM1 (Kadcyla) trial I was on a while back, in that once again a chemo drug is combined with herceptin to try to target the drug to the shitty cells rather than damage normal cells too.  In this case the trial drug is SYD985.  From them as is interested some more info is available here.  

I will have to have several tests to ensure that I meet the drug company's criteria for going on the trial.  In addition to this, tumour samples from my surgery have to be sent to America and I will also have to have a biopsy on the cancer in my lungs.  The new biopsy presents two problems.  Firstly, a biopsy sounds like No Fun At All (but obviously I'd bite the bullet).  Secondly, there needs to be some cancer that is both large enough and near enough to the surface to make a biopsy feasible.  Dr Eddie and a radiologist will be scrutinising my last CT scan to see if a biopsy is a go-er.  If not I won't be able to go on the trialI should hear from Ed on this one by the end of next week.  So fingers crossed.

If I am biopsy-able then that, plus the other tests and sending info to America mean that I won't actually get to start the trial for about six weeks.  This worries me a bit as I feel like my cough and breathlessness are worsening by the minute.  Hopefully, I'm just being a bit of a drama queen on this one. 

So that's where we are at the moment.  In limbo land really.  But things are moving along I suppose.  To keep my spirits up I'm stomping about the house singing this.  Feel free to join in. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

I bloody knew it!

Picture from here

I got my latest scan results yesterday and, as I suspected, the little fuckers in my lungs are up to no good.  I suppose I had clutched a very faint hope to my moth-eaten and mutilated bosom that the endless bouts of coughing and attacks of breathlessness might be a side-effect from my current hormonal treatment, but nah of course not.  The grim reality is that the cancer in my lungs is growing.  

While the scan results were pretty predictable, the oncologist's suggested course of action came as a bit of a surprise.  I'm being referred to the Christie (a specialist hospital in Manchester) to see if they know of any clinical trials that might be helpful or even perhaps look at my suitability for immunotherapy.  I'm pleased about this, as it'll be good to be checked over by the experts, if only for my own peace of mind.  If the Christie can't help then I'll be going back to my local hospital to try another chemo, vinorelbine.  And that, I think, might really be my last chemo option. 

The news has affected me in a strange way.  Rather than taking to booze (any more than usual I mean), surrounding myself with doughnuts or lying sobbing in bed, I have an overwhelming desire to chuck out all my clothes and buy new ones.  This can only prove that I really am the most incredibly shallow person ever (yet more unsurprising news).   I'm not even sure what sort of clothes I want - just not the ones I've currently got.  How about I go for my 1983 look:

Robert Smith in a skirt
Yes, I am wearing leg warmers over woolly tights.  And yes, that was cool.

Anyway once I get a) a new wardrobe or b) an appointment at the Christie I'll be sure to give you all the news.  How you'll stand the excitement I just don't know.

Until then, simply because I haven't mentioned him for a while, I'll leave you with a picture of my beloved.

Cyril, the three-legged monster cat


Tuesday, 3 May 2016


I first came across Kath Marsland when we both started blogging for a breast cancer charity's online magazine.  At that point she was recovering from treatment for primary breast cancer.  Since then we've exchanged emails and messages about life, the universe and everything.

During the next few months Kath, like 30% of all people who have had primary breast cancer, went on to be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (the cancer, now incurable, had spread to other parts of the body).  Throughout it all Kath maintained her fantastic sense of humour and sickeningly brilliant (me, jealous?) writing style.

As her disease progressed Kath thoroughly researched her options and had started fund raising to enable her to seek treatment in Germany.  

I'm very sad to say that Kath died just over a week ago, before she had the chance to go to the German clinic.  I read today that Kath had asked that in the event of her death any money raised on her behalf should be donated to Second Hope, the only UK charity focusing solely on metastatic breast cancer.

I'm writing about Kath here because I want to assure anyone who donated to her treatment via my Facebook post that the money will be going to a very worthy cause and, more importantly, because I want to commemorate, in my own small way, the life of a lovely, funny and very talented young woman.  

Some relevant links:

Kath's amazing blog

An article about Kath in the Manchester Evening News 

Information about Second Hope