I haven’t added anything to this blog for the last 19 months, for no other reason than there is little to report: the quarterly reviews last year passed uneventfully, and we are currently set at 4-monthly periods. The nasoendoscopy is now second nature, the relief still palpable when the Consultant says he’s happy that all is well.
This week’s visit was more interesting though: yes, the throat is still dry, and I go through up to a litre of water overnight (my bladder complains constantly: ‘what, again?’ ). However, the latest malaise is that my hairline is receding in an unusual manner: from the back upwards. It seems that radiotherapy continues to have an effect on my hair follicles – I still don’t have to shave the underside of my neck, which remains as smooth as a very smooth thing. However, I now have bald patches at the rear. Everyone tells me that I shouldn’t worry: nobody is looking at the back of my head. Apart from constant head massages, I am now planning the mother of all comb-overs.
Honestly, I have bugger all to complain about: I’m thankful to be here and in good health. Even last week’s hernia op was a walk in the park in comparison to my journey into the unknown four years ago. This hospital trip made me think about how much I’d put the past experience out of my mind, and how ‘normal’ everything is now. I’m pleased to have been reminded about updating the blog though: it seems that ‘no news’ is a good news story that people can relate to.
I’m told that therapy regimes are kinder now: as time passes, new developments occur in the field of cancer treatment. The immunotherapy drug Nivolumab has become the first to show a survival benefit in head and neck cancer, after a major international trial found that it was more effective than standard chemotherapy:
The message is that early diagnosis is the key. It is the main reason I constantly reiterate the need to see your GP if you are at all concerned about any changes you notice/feel. Don’t kid yourself: it might not just ‘go away’, and the quicker you get a medical opinion (not your best friend’s version), the better any potential treatment solution might be.
To end on a more positive note, it’s heartening to think that a ‘cure’ might finally be on the horizon:
Yes, for every ‘good news’ story, I’m sure you can find ten ‘bad news’ versions (probably all in the ‘Daily Mail’). That doesn’t discount the fact that genuine advances are made every day. Our part in this is to look after ourselves, and be more aware of our lifestyle choices.
In the meantime, enjoy the Summer! I’m off to build an Ark…
PS: My favourite event of the Summer to date – watching Tom Petty at Hyde Park:
…and the spectacular Pink Floyd Exhibition at the V&A: