Today I was back at Bart's for my radiotherapy follow-up appointment, to check how I coped with the treatment and any problems I have had since. The appointment can be summarised thus: Hi. How are you? Show us your boob. Oh, that looks great. See you in December. Bye. (I may have had encounters like this in the past, although not with doctors.)
Blog: The Big J vs The Big C
Making the breast of a bad situation ...
On 4 October 2016, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This blog will chart my progress through treatment, and continued enjoyment of life, love and friendship.
Expect humour, irreverance, occasional sadness, and staunch defence of the National Health Service.
Btw, that picture is not me. :-)
... or 'The Lumpen Proletariat' ...
Over recent decades, UK cancer death rates have fallen significantly. They began falling in the late 1980s, and by 2006 had fallen by 17%. More people than ever before are surviving cancer, with 78% of women in England and Wales still alive ten years after their breast cancer diagnosis (2010-11).
But there are still big differences between cancer outcomes depending on how wealthy you are. Economic inequality - the polite term for 'class divisions' - is linked to 19,000 cancer deaths per year.
Since resuming my membership of the sports centre five days ago, I have visited every day - and no, not just to check the timetable or use the vending machine.
Back in the pool today
After six months away
Cut, cooked skin no longer broken
There is surely scope
For a breast stroke joke
Six months after I 'froze' my sports centre membership when I was too biopsied to work out, today was the day that I felt thawed enough to unfreeze it. Yes, I returned to the gym.
Last night, I returned to duty in my proper job, as a London Underground 'Night Tube' station supervisor. These days, the official title is 'Customer Service Supervisor', but I prefer it if you have some idea of what I actually do ie. supervise a station, rather than imagining that I'm some kind of whip-cracker in the complaints department.
After visiting the hospital yesterday to get my oedema looked at, I sat for a while in the small church of St. Bartholomew-the-Less, conveniently located on the way out of the hospital on the way to the bus stop.
A retrospective blog post today, looking back at when I noticed that something was wrong. I didn't write about this at the time because I didn't want to alarm anyone without reason. The blogging only started once the diagnosis was confirmed. So, it went like this ...
Yesterday evening, something rather alarming happened. There I was, minding my own business, watching telly, when my T-shirt suddenly became soaking wet, in a patch from above the nipple downwards.
Lie back, gown down, naked from the waist up but clothed from there down to my shoed feet. It really is most remarkably comfortable. Even my raised arms get cushioned rests that not only bear their weight but also bring my hands together without a hint of pain or even effort.
Two sounds compete. One, the background whirr of presumably the air conditioning, whose breath occasionally registers on my skin and makes me feel even more comfortable, if that were possible. And two, the radio, one of those commercial stations with music that is pretty much guaranteed to offend no-one but will probably inspire no-one either.