Monday, 3 February 2014


I got to try on my face mould again today. They did another PET scan, with me fitted into the mould and the tattoo spot on my chest lined up by laser beam. Waffle-face is how I looked when they let me loose again. The mould fits quite tightly across face and head and I could feel the imprint afterwards.

It was an up and down day. I met the medical oncologist who I call Dr Chattanooga - well, I met his registrar who showed more interest in me as a person than I have encountered with any of the hospital people I have met so far. Prashanth is in his fifth year as a registrar, and has chosen to specialise in oncology. He seemed to be exploring the concept of why this type of cancer and why now. Had I had any major stressful events in my life in the last 18 months or so, what was my relationship status, drinking habits, supplements taken regularly. Prashanth poked around with my tongue and looked down my throat and told me what had shown up on the MRI and asked me if surgery had been considered. He went off to talk to Dr Chattanooga and the great man himself then came and spoke with me, but the surgical option wasn't raised again in the discussions that followed so I don't know what happened to that idea. He said he's not going to use Cisplatin, which is commonly used in cases like mine, but rather a combination of Fluorourcil and Mitomycin. I remembered Cisplaten from the biography of cancer book. Is is one of the earlier chemo drugs and nurses knew it as Cisflatten, because in the days before there were effective anti-nausea drugs, it caused the most violent nausea ever seen. So a lucky escape - thanks Dr Chattanooga, I love you already! He said 3 lots of chemo, but each will be run in slowly, over several days via a line called a PICC that will be inserted into my arm and left in place for the duration of treatment.

Then I got to see the radiation oncologist again. I call him Dr Vitz. He is the one who wants to be certain that I am one hundred percent committed to my relationship with him (he told me last time that I am going to hate him down the track a bit). We talked about the Peter MacCallum option and whether I had let go of that. He said "it's no good spending time dreaming about and wishing that you could be driving a Porsche, instead of getting on with the car you actually have". I suspect Dr Vitz already knows me too well.

Along the way I lost the cheeriness that I started the day with. I  think what threw me most was that the chemo drugs need to be ordered in, and the physics of the radiation treatment need to be calculated, and it is all going to take at least another 2 weeks. So not next week. Lesson here is, I am just along for the ride. It is no good making plans and thinking I have it all under control. I can't, don't. And it is no way no Porsche either. (Not that that will stop me from turning the music up loud and pretending)

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of confidence that anyone is actually in control - they are all making it up as they go along and they each make up their own little bit of the picture in their own time.


  1. Sorry to hear that treatment has been delayed. I do like the idea of you blasting the music in your pretend Porsche, I can see you with the scarf over your head like Thelma and Louise. Much love from Motueka

  2. I read recently that the Buddhist view of the world is that no-one is in control and to accept this is important:"Resistance to reality is the cause of suffering and acceptance is the key to release from that suffering". Or in more simpler terms: What will be, will be. But that doesn't mean that wishing to drive a Porsche is not a fine way to pass the time. I like your Dr Vitz.