Two strands are emerging in managing bladder cancer. First, Dr Martin, the oncologist, phoned to discuss my decision to go for radiotherapy, re-going over what I had already been told: that I would have an appointment sent through to go back to Addenbrookes for a further bladder scan, and the addition of tattoos to my abdomen to mark the spot for the radiotherapy, which might start a couple of weeks after that. I resisted the temptation to ask, why he hadn't just said that on Monday when I was in the room with him!
He emphasised that my chances of going on holiday after Christmas were small to the point of disappearing, as even if the therapy was completed by then, I might be too tired and weak to go. I also asked him if there were any recent treatments that might improve the odds, but perhaps hadn't been approved for prescribing under the NHS, even if I had to pay for them myself, but disappointedly he said there weren't.
Second, my niece in Coventry sent a parcel from an on-line shop, Live Better with Cancer, that contained special creams to sooth burnt skin, a warming blanket for when I get shivery, and ginger sweets to refresh the taste buds and ease nausea. I first met Sue as a new born, when I took her a gift of a yellow elephant, but generally we only see her and her family when we visit my brother's, for we've never been a very close family. But this gift, totally unexpected and so thoughtful, moved me to tears, to realise how much care went into its choosing from someone I rarely see and hardly know, despite being a close relative.
Now I await radiotherapy: the calm before the storm of radiation hits my body. I continue to work, and it provides a good distraction – it requires intense thought, and I can certainly think of nothing else at those times. The cancer sites are spot on – a good job is great distraction therapy.