And there’s much more to be positive about too. After my PET/CT scan I head up to London. I’m virtually living on the train this week and loving every moment of it.
Thursday evening with Denise, lovely fish and roast vegetable supper and sleep.
Up early and off to Kings College Hospital for my meeting with Dr Robert Marcus, the Haematology consultant and Hodgkins Lymphoma specialist I’ve managed to get a referral to see and have review my case. I’m nervous about this. I struggle to order my thoughts and manage to write a list of questions for him. I’ve no idea what to expect, but his reputation is certain – I might be repeating myself but Caz my MacMillan nurse said she attended a lecture by him and that he was ‘incredible’. That’s good enough for me, coupled with the fact that he comes recommended by the oncologist of my friend Elisabeth who has been battling her own cancer and knows so much…
Well, Dr Marcus is incredible. He’s calm, friendly, efficient and very, very fast. He reads my summary of treatment and takes it all in then starts to draw a flow chart of options outlining the various routes my treatment might now take. There’s a lot of information here I have not received before. I record the meeting on my iPad but he will send me summary, forwarding it to my GP and to Dr. Kruger.
I ask if he would be prepared to take me on for the Stem Cell treatment, here at Kings College Hospital. And he would. They currently conduct 200 transplants a year here in his unit – and this fact alone is enough to convince me that I should come here. I mean no disrespect to my team at Treliske, but they don’t have the facilities or throughput of patients to match this. I want to come here for what comes next.
London then. It might be a month or three months depending of the type of transplant. This will all be decided on the next week or so and the scan results and tissue typing results come through. Dr Marcus makes the interesting suggestion that he might well favour autologous SCT, ie using my own stem cells, because in my case he is not convinced that the potential greater immune boost of a donor transplant outweighs the risks of the procedure (1 in 5 chance of mortality from a donor transplant compared to 1 in 20 if I have my own). Sobering. Interesting.
London then. So in three weeks time I might be coming back here. For an extended stay. Immediately I feel relaxed about it. Relaxed and yes, elated, because there is an excitement about it. It feels like the right thing to do without question. And immediately people are there for me; Denise – stay in my house as you need, I’m here to help in any way,.. Elisabeth I’ll bring broths! … David S I’m already visiting you, whatever you need… Amazing. It’s the right thing to do.
London then. That makes it simpler in a way – I know where to focus my efforts. And the division between what I need to do at home now, and for when I come back to Pz after the transplant is clear. As is the quite different and specific needs whilst in hospital and immediately after.
I’ve got three weeks to get organised. Lots to do both at home and for London. And another cycle of chemo just to top it off. Ok, get ready.
And then later this morning back in Richmond a very happy meeting with Nina, my friend Nina, long lost but always there. And how simple it felt to see each other again. Somehow everything feels lined up, the stars in place.
And finally supper with David S and Virginia and an evening of food and chat. Just right. Night night.