Two Years on

Two years down the road: I was told that this is a significant milestone in as much that, if you can avoid re-engaging with the same cancer during this period, your chances of staying clear long-term is much increased.

My latest appointment with the Senior Oncologist was set for a bizarre time – 4pm on New Years Eve – so the evening could have gone either way. We chatted for some time about how the last 24 months had gone and how current side effects – dry throat, poor mastication, mouth ulcers, lack of facial hair growth – are ameliorated by newer treatment techniques. No benefit to me obviously, but it’s good to know that others about to enter into the unknown will hopefully suffer less side effects.

We then went through the ritual examination, and all was well; nothing he was too concerned about. I have to admit that this was a relief: I’m not sure why I was so nervous about this one, but with a recent first anniversary of a good friend’s passing from identical circumstances (his diagnosis came a month after mine), alternative outcomes preyed on my mind. I’m delighted that the Consultant is happy (and Liz and the rest of the family are obviously ecstatic too), but decided that New Years Eve should be spent quietly, with just the two of us sharing a special bottle of fizz. My past experiences of New Years Eve is that it’s the only acceptable time to wear body glitter without being mistaken for a male stripper, and I thought I’d give that a miss for a year…

There were only three posts by me on this blog during 2015 (all tied into my consultant visits), mainly due to having nothing significant to report compared to my first year post treatment; consequently there is a reduced number of visitors to the site. Indeed, I had more traffic to the ‘Music Hoard‘ page in the summer (have you been there? All my OCD tendencies are laid bare). Future consultant visits are still set at three-monthly intervals, but realistically there’s not much more to add. Still, 10,000+ hits to date is pretty encouraging: hopefully the blog has been of use to those who have read it (and possibly complete b*ll*cks to some), but unless there is anything significant to report, I think it has probably run its course.

Having said that, I occasionally post on the Macmillan Online Community (in the Head & Neck Cancer section). You realise that people starting out on this journey are frightened and scared, and there are a lot of us who, having travelled down this path, can shed some light on what may follow. All experiences differ, but I’m always heartened by the advice freely given  (take a bow, Joyce and others) to try and provide some (hopefully) useful guidance, comfort and wisdom.

Many sufferers find themselves at their wit’s end – to the point of wanting to cut short their treatment, to the despair of family members – and you hope that the mountains of encouragement and support will be of use in getting them through the process. They are all individual perspectives, but this shared wisdom would be my preferred first port of call for anyone about to go on this journey.

I hope you all have a worry-free 2016! Take good care of yourselves, and may all your troubles last as long as your New Year resolutions 🙂

Best wishes

Theo

PS: Radioactive Santa Mask!

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The full version…

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…and the celebratory fizz!

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12 thoughts on “Two Years on

  1. Hi Radioactive man, so pleased to hear all is well 2 years on. Lets hope all continues that way for many years to come. Best wishes for 2016 to you and family. Mary James (Hexham)

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  2. This is fantastic news and such a insperaration, I am absolutely delighted for you and your family. I know they keep saying the 2 year mark is a significant one although I am not quite sure why. Is it 2 years from the date treatment started or when it finished? I had my neck dissection in January 2014, followed by 30 rads and 6 chemo running concurrently, these finished April 2014. So I am either at my 2 year marker or approaching it in April! I believe positivity has played a big part in my recovery, although some side effects are becoming a bit troublesome, I have to keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t moan, it’s a small price to pay to still be here, and then my self pity vanishes. Anyway, enough about me. I just wanted to say a BIG WELL DONE, CONGRATULATIONS All the best for a happy healthy 2016, and beyond Jessica x

    /\~~/\ (>’.'<)  Jessica Jones  (")_(")

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    • Hello Jessica – thank you so much for your kind words!

      I’ve also been puzzling about the 2-year thing: I was told that, post treatment (like you, 30 x rad, 6 x chemo concurrently), you continue to roast in the fiery pit of hell for 6 weeks or so, and it’s from the first consultant’s visit that the clock is set. To me, that’s confusing, though I suspect its semantics. My friend went through the same treatment, and it returned within the first three months.

      You’re absolutely right about positivity: it is the driving force in any recovery: simply don’t give yourself the time to wallow in it.I do realise that this is easier said than done.

      Once again, thanks for reading – and I also hope that you have a happy and healthy 2016! x

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  3. Thoe … I massive milestone and one I hope to reach in April this year.

    You blog was an inspiration to me to start mine and as with you I’ve had many people acros the world thank me enlightening them to what’s a head of them …. It mainly the wives of husbands who have it …. I guess us guys are not the open with our feelings sometimes

    Anyway it’s nice not to hear from you …nit means that all is well and you are enjoying life … Good

    Enjoy

    Vatch (gammaraygary on WordPress)

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    • Hello Vatch – good to hear from you! Blogs are a great way of both communicating to others, and releasing pent-up emotions – hopefully without becoming too self-indulgent (hands up, I’m guilty).

      Hopefully all continues to go well for you: here’s to a happy and healthy 2016!

      best wishes
      Theo

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  4. Hi Theo ,
    A happy and good 2016, that is good positive news and it helps my wife.
    She is doing ok it is still hard after finishing 30 RT June 13 2014 , but she keep positive and tells me and her consultant she is not ill and will not let it beat her .
    Managed to have 2 short 5 days breaks in Spain in 2105 so that was good .
    Stay positive and take care/Steve

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    • Hi Steve

      Good to hear from you: hopefully your wife continues to stay positive. It took me a good 18 months to ‘feel’ normal post-treatment (and I still get tired very quickly), but mostly I’m just chuffed to be as well as I am.

      Best wishes – and stay strong!
      Theo

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      • Hi Theo how are you ,maybe you saw on the Mac forum Chris my wife passed away March 8 at home .
        2 years on July 27 last year the cancer was in her lungs and part vertebrae , told palliative and no treatment .We did not accept , had chemo tablet treatment and she never gave up .
        Sadly it spread to sternum and in the end was in so much pain .
        I miss her terrible 26 years we together and a team , wish I was with her .
        Take care and all the best /Steve

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  5. Oh Steve, I’m so sorry to hear about Chris. There are no adequate words of comfort. I’ve lost two friends since to C: it just seems more prevalent these days. I feel lucky for every day I have. I hope that your family and friends are there for you, and can provide you with the support and love you’re going to need. Please stay strong.

    Best wishes, Theo

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