Five

UPDATE: 5.30am, Saturday, 21st May…

OK, last night I started to write a blog post about the end of my fifth week of cancer treatment – and it’s true.

Just one week left to go.

Hurray!

However, while writing, a few negative feelings which were lurking at the back of my mind hijacked the post, waved an imaginary sword around (I don’t do guns, not even in my imagination), and steered the post off in a different, darker direction.

I woke up this morning planning to rewrite the post – but now I don’t know if I should.

What I wrote last night came from the heart (with a quick pass by the spleen, just to make sure it was sprinkled with sourness).

If I go back and rewrite it, it will be as though I’m denying myself having had those thoughts – which I’m not.

Which I never will do on this blog.

That was genuinely how I felt last night – and this is how I feel this morning…

Tommy

Well, maybe not exactly cartoon-like, but certainly much happier (and high thanks to Steve Beckett for Beano-ising me!)

I mean – come on…  I’ve had to endure this nonsense for five long weeks.  Over 1,500 miles of motorway to get to a place where I’ll struggle to park, and then people much younger and smarter than me strap me to a table and blast me with radiation!

And there’s just ONE week left to go!!

Get in!

So, here’s the deal…

I’m leaving my original blog post live below.  If you want to read how I was feeling last night, please continue down the page.

Don’t worry, it’s not that dark.  I just allowed the late hour, fatigue and painful mouth ulcers get the better of me.

And I was most likely off my tits on nutrient-heavy strawberry milkshakes.

If you’d rather just revel in this bit, where I am (partially) rested, warm, fuzzy and jolly – stop right here.

Well, not right there – I’ve got one or two more sentences to type first.

Still with me?  Good.

OK.  Stop…

NOW!

Or, don’t…

Written and posted in the evening of Friday 20th May…

Week five of my cancer treatment is now done and dusted!

Today’s session – R25/5 – went smoothly enough, once we’d sorted out the tight mask issue one again.  No-one seems quite sure why that is happening…

So, I have just one week of cancer treatment left to go!

Five sessions of radiotherapy, and one of chemotherapy.

My feelings on the subject are mixed.  Obviously, I’ll be delighted when the constant back and forth to the Royal Preston Hospital is finished with (major thanks to the lovely George Kirk for today’s driving duties!)

But, everyone at the Rosemarie Cancer Foundation has been SO wonderfully kind, caring and patient that I will miss seeing them each day.

I won’t miss the sessions themselves, of course – although I’m told the side effects will continue to worsen for a week or two before they subside.

So, there’s that to look forward to.

Radiotherapy – the nuclear-powered invisible laser medicine that keeps on giving!

And, finally, this has got to work.  Should the cancer ever return in the same place, treatment is out of the question.

I can’t have radiotherapy on the right hand side of my throat and neck ever again.

If it returns elsewhere, it’s a possibility.  Just not the same area.

Which is nagging at me a little.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve received so many lovely emails from people telling me their stories in the fight against this horrible illness, or the way their close friends and family members battled onwards.

I’ve heard all kinds of amazing tales: ‘five years free’, ‘ten years and no return’, ‘in remission’, ‘cured’, and many more.

But, and this is where things start to get darker, folks – so feel free to click away or tune out if you’re currently enjoying some kind of fantastic Friday feeling.  There’s probably something good on TV right about now…

OK, have they all gone now?

Right…  Here’s what I think.

I think the cancer will come back.

One day.

This is what is going to get me.

In the end.

I always suspected it would be my breathing.  Asthma, chest infection, pneumonia or one of those jolly wheezing japes.

But, no.  This is the thing.

Cancer.

I watched it take both of my parents and then turn around, hungry for more.

Of course, I’ll be trying with all my might to stop that from happening.  Once I’m well again, everything changes – choice of diet, cut out drinking (bar special occasions), regular exercise, (more) weight loss, etc.

But, that’s no guarantee.

You see, cancer’s had a taste of me now.  And I genuinely believe it will come back, sniffing around for seconds.  Maybe not for many years, but it will.

And then I have to decide whether I can go through all this again.  If not for me, then for Kirsty and the boys.

I’ve just paused to read back what I’ve written so far.  Not exactly uplifting stuff to be writing at the end of week five, is it?

Sorry about that.

It’s just that I really can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.  And part of me is scared to step out into that light…

…in case there’s just another tunnel waiting dead ahead.

Does that make sense?

What worries me is that I’ve never felt that way about anything before.  In fact, I’ve always relished that leap into the unknown; jumping in with both feet to see where and how I land.

Making the most of the unchartered lands ahead.

Except, I really don’t want to come back here.

Not to this place.

And I’m almost convinced I will do just that.

Plus, if this is what it takes and feels in order to get well again, imagine what not getting well from this bastard must be like.

I accidentally typed that in an email to my agent the other day.

I meant to say that ‘I will get well, and crack on with Project MH‘ (a potential new series for her to take to publishers).

But, I didn’t write that.

For some unknown reason, I actually typed: ‘I will not get well, and crack on…’

She made me delete the email.

But that little typo has been bugging me ever since.

Reading too much into a silly mistake?  Perhaps.

Letting the black ferrets of darkness emerge from the shadows and scarper up my trouser legs?  Almost certainly.

But it’s there.  Gnawing at my every thought.

This isn’t over.

Cancer will be back.

And, when it arrives, I’ll have to be ready and waiting.

Again.

Added after a 20 minute break from the computer…

Well, wasn’t that fun?  Today’s rollercoaster of emotion was brought to you by the letter ‘C’.  Sorry about that.  I had every intention of writing a ‘hurray, I’m nearly there!’ post to celebrate the end of my fifth week of treatment.

But, as I’ve frequently stated, this blog isn’t just for the positive stuff.  If this disease and resulting treatment brings me down, I think it’s only honest that I share that with you.

Bet you wished you’d nipped off to watch telly earlier when I gave you the chance, eh?

I can’t even think of a picture I can upload to illustrate this post.  So, I’m about to delve into my had drive and choose an image at random.

How’s this…

SS Beat It!

Opt In Image
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7 Comments


  1. Tommy, I’ve wanted to post a comment for so long, but I didn’t know what to say – so I’ve said nothing. But that’s rubbish, isn’t it? I’ve been trying hard to think of something witty, or inspiring to say to you, but really I’d just like to say thank you for your honesty, and most importantly get well soon x.

    Reply

  2. Hi Tommy
    Sorry you’re feeling a bit down. It all makes perfect sense how you’re feeling. I’ve been there too…. Couple of thoughts :
    When I found another lump and went in hospital to have it investigated (deep in a slough of despond!), I met a woman having a similar thing done as she’d found a lump on her head. She was really glamorous and looked amazing. I said that I was worried about recurrence and that that was my major issue really, and she said, “Look, my mum worries mine is going to come back, and I’ve told her cancer has tried to get me, and if it’s gonna get me there’s not much I can do about it, but one thing I do know is it’s not going to take over my life and I’m going to enjoy each day that I feel well.” I got things a bit more in proportion after I met her, and I tried really hard to think like her – today I feel ok, let’s make the most of it. Don’t sweat the small stuff etc etc. I still do worry about recurrence – I think everyone I know who’s had it does – and I do wonder about how I’d handle it if it came back. I don’t think that will ever go away for me.
    My GP just told me to put it out of my mind and be stern with myself – easier said than done!
    I also try and think – we don’t know what the future holds for any of us – which is probably a good thing – and what we think might happen often doesn’t.
    Plus – they are coming up with new treatments all the time, and there’s every reason to hope that they will find a new treatment that works.
    I didn’t write a bucket list when I got ill, because it felt a bit maudlin (that’s just me), but I do try not to put off things that I fancy doing now, and I am a lot more relaxed about things that used to stress me out. I get a lot of joy out of small moments like a walk in the park, maybe because I remember when I had to stop half way up the stairs for a rest!
    I suppose, deep down, I still think it’s lurking around – but if they developed a blood test that could tell me, I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to have it!
    You are smashing this Tommy – 100%! One more week to go… it will get better.
    The little boys I sent the boxed set of Scream Street to received it yesterday and are really excited. They know the TV series. One of them took the first book to his swimming lesson today to read while he was waiting for his lesson to begin.
    Take care – hope you manage to get some rest. 🙂

    Reply

  3. If it does return then remember we have the medicine, technology, experts to help deal with it – your
    parents had far less expertise in tbe form of medicine – things have come a long way.

    You will recover!

    Reply

  4. That image at the bottom looks great XD

    Honestly Tommy, congrats on being so close to finishing the treatment! I hope everything goes as good as possible for you!
    You’ve no need to be sorry about the dark bits of this post though, we understand that this is unbelievably hard to go through. And really don’t blame you for having that bit of anxiety about if it comes back. Personally I think whenever someone’s been through any kind of stress for a chunk of time and then things get better, they’re bound to have this niggling worry that things will become bad again, like when I handed my final project in at uni just the other day and should’ve felt happy, only to be like “Oh god what if I fail at the last hurdle”.

    So deep breaths man, you never know how many miles and years away that second tunnel could be, I get the feeling maybe it’s hundreds, or not even there! But the point is it’s great you’re thinking of improving your lifestyle, and you should live to the fullest whenever you get the chance.

    Reply

  5. With Otto Sneer Luke Watson and all the rest of the cast batting for you then even “C” should be very scared. Lol xx

    Reply

  6. Your fears make perfect sense to me, Tommy. I think I’d be feeling exactly the same way … some of the time. Just like you. Up sometimes, down other times. It seems like the natural response.

    I just wanted to toss out there that even if your cancer does return in the same place — and hopefully it will not — treatment isn’t out of the question because the menu of possible treatments may have changed, by that point. Who knows what progress may have happened five years from now, ten years from now? Immunotherapies have made a striking difference for some cancers already. There is objective, rational cause for optimism, IMO. 🙂

    Reply

  7. It is a rollercoaster. There will be another tunnel. Satan loves to play: a little glimmer of hope only to be followed by a deep hole. But if you choose God as ally, Satan will retreat fuming and will take his curse Cancer with him. Pray, pray, pray!

    Reply

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