Saturday, October 17, 2009


I suppose you imagine that being diagnosed with cancer comes with drum rolls and drama.
It doesn't. It's much more low key and prosaic than that. I came home from flying one weekend, my wife said "what's that on your backside?" It looked like a bruise, the size of a 50 cent coin.
For a while I thought nothing of it; then I went to the doctor. It's just a bit of eczema he said, here's some cream. But it didn't go. Then I headed off to see a specialist: It's nothing he said - quite unpleasantly in fact.
January had moved to April and still this thing was getting bigger. I had a friend with a cutaneous B-cell lymphoma and that had alerted me to the possibility. I asked to be referred to another specialist. He looked at the lesion and I said "what do you think it is?" He said "I'm suspicious that it's cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, we'll do a biopsy." I said "I think you're right" - he looked startled!
The biopsy was low key, lay on your face and have someone stick two holes in your backside and then stitch them. The result was of course positive. August - 8 months, not bad.
So begins the process of living with cancer, and hopefully dying with it not from it. I'm one of the lucky ones. Usually this disease takes 15 years to diagnose and because it's well advanced you die from it. Ask Paul Eddington.
In my case I found it very early, I had a high index of suspicion and I persisted until I got a diagnosis - one way or another. That makes my outlook good. But I wake up every morning knowing that this thing that has me might decide that today is the day to go berserk. Some days it does and you fight back. Some days, weeks, even months it stays quietly in its lair.
There aren't any drum rolls though and it isn't a drama. Somebody just tells you quietly that you have cancer and that there is no cure. Another day at the office...
The more we know the more likely that we are to live until we die (of something else -;)).
For more information on Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment