Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Another All Clear

Today was clinic day and despite the fact I've had so many, it is still hard to predict what format it will take.

This time it was a more familiar process.  Hearing test first (no significant change), then sit and then wait for Mr Morrissey to see me and give me a look over.

Like most medical appointments, it requires a fair degree of sitting around waiting, which begs the questions as to whether you should really tun up on time, or just arrive late and reduce the waiting time.  It was 20 odd minutes after we arrived before  being called in for the hearing test, and then we waited another 10 minutes or so for Mr Morrissey.

As the title of the post says, it was another good result.  He is happy and there is no sign of the cancer having made a return visit.  While he won't say I'm cured yet, he said in reality it isn't too far away given we're almost at the third anniversary mark.

Next clinic is in six months time, but he said in reality by the time they make the appointment, etc it will be more likely closer to nine months, which he felt was a good time anyway.

It's a funny old thing timing.  We discussed how things had all settled down, etc and how this is probably as good as it gets for me.  That's all fine and I have admitted more than once that I don't really think about it too much now, but circumstances transpired to give me a gentle prod this evening.  Our home phone was dead and the ensuing calls with Telecom to try and get it sorted has left me with a very dry / raspy throat.  If that's the price of still being here, I'm more than happy to pay it.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Self-medicating Isn't A Good Idea

When this whole adventure started, I learnt pretty early on that when the professionals offer drugs, you take them - they've dealt with many patients and know what is best.  And while I was at home, I also learnt that trying to be a hero was a silly idea - taking the drugs to alleviate the pain not only meant I was more comfortable, but it was also easier on those assisting with my care.

Over the last three years, my life has pretty much got back to normal and the only drugs I take now are to compensate for the long-term affects of the radiotherapy on my system.  They are part of my daily routine and by in large I don't give them another thought.  Only last weekend, I did give it thought and suffered as a result.  

You see, one of the drugs I take is to deal with the acid reflux I now suffer.  In my "wisdom" I decided that I'd see whether my system really still needed these pills, so I decided not to take the pill on Saturday morning.  In all honesty, during that day I didn't really notice any difference, so I pushed the boat out and gave the Sunday pill a miss as well.

By then end of the day, I was starting to suffer.  Obviously there had been enough residual benefit in my system to tide me over until Sunday morning, but come late afternoon I was feeling decidedly queasy and contemplating just popping a pill.

But then the next dilemma kicked in - if I take one now, can I resume the routing again in the morning?  How often am I allowed to take them before it is an effective overdose?  I know the doctor told me, but I've been diligently taking them each morning for so long now that I couldn't remember.  Caution finally overtook bravado and I waited until Monday to resume the pill-popping.

Lesson learned!  This is where I struggle trying to justify why I was so stupid in the first place.  I've always followed the medical advice throughout this whole journey, I always do as I'm told for general ailments, so why did I decide I knew better all of a sudden?  

Regular readers of this blog will know how I've gone on about the new normal and how I don't want to fall back into old habits.  Yet here I am seemingly ignoring all of that.  Maybe it's also because as the 3rd anniversary of treatment finishing is fast approaching that I'm feeling a bit cocky about the long term prognosis.  Honestly I don't know why I did it (it seemed like a good idea at the time), but I do know this simple little exercise in futility and discomfort has certainly hammered home the truth.

That truth is things will never be the way they were and all I can hope is to minimise the impact on my daily life.  Given the alternatives, that doesn't seem too high a price to pay.  Every so often I receive one of these little reminders and in total honesty I'm thankful for them because I don't want to forget what I've been through as doing so devalues the efforts of everyone who helped me win the fight.  It also helps to remind me of the second chance I've been lucky enough to have, while so many have been less fortunate.

Will I ever do something silly like this again?  Guarantee I do.  Will I come to the same conclusion as I did over the weekend - you can bet on it.