As the title suggests, I have effectively escaped the heat of the South East and my noisy neighbours to seek peace and sea breeze at home. 5 hours on the M4 is not exactly country roads, and I have no idea how much Wales is like West Virginia, but I do know that Wales feels like “home” despite never having lived here.
From a treatment perspective, things are on track. As we know from the Prof’s letter a few weeks ago, the tumours are responding to treatment, which is the best news we could have hoped for at this stage. My last visit to the treatment centre revealed that whilst the white blood cells were still ridiculously low, this seems to be my norm, so for the first time, I actually started a treatment cycle with only one week off. I am on the lowest dose the drug trial tested, but that seems to mean my blood count can tolerate the impact slightly better. The net result of this is I may only need to go to the cancer centre once per month. It will mean I can get the blood tests, injection, implant and targeted therapy all in one appointment. I will be beyond relieved if this proves to be the case as 5 months of multiple appointments in a week has been somewhat tiresome, to say the very least.
As I sit to write this today I am amazed to discover that my blogs have been read over a thousand times. I am frankly amazed. I shall keep writing until nobody is bothered to read them anymore, or I run out of things to say, which ever comes first.
I try to be as open and honest in my updates because there doesn’t seem to be any point otherwise. So in the interests of full disclosure, there is other news which I have not yet shared. Now that I am home in Wales, it seems the right time.
In March, about a month after my secondary diagnosis, as if this family didn’t have enough to deal with, my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. To state the obvious, this news has completely devastated us, but in true Goswell style, he is keeping his head up and putting his best foot forward. The early months of tests and more tests were extremely challenging, but we know now that the tumour has remained localised and the treatment should be, relatively, straight forward. Being a hormone receptive tumour (like mine) he has been undergoing hormone treatment for the last 4 months. I know the symptoms of this only too well but for a man, this is unquestionably vile. Who ever imagined a time when my Pa and I would discuss the frequency, intensity and general nastiness of hot flushes. There is a cruel irony there somewhere. These are tough times.
The good news for now is that as of this week we know he is responding well to the treatment and his PSA has dropped from 5.4 at the beginning of the year to 0.4. This means the tumour has shrunk. His next step is radiotherapy. 7 weeks, daily. In Swansea which is upwards of a 3 hour round trip. I hated radiotherapy so much, and mine was 4 weeks, half an hour away, so this is unimaginable to me. But he is a hero and will get through it and be better for it.
Being on the Welsh coast there didn’t seem any better place for two volcanic flushers than to take a dip in the sea. So yesterday, that’s what we did, just like we would any summer. In the midst of this nightmarish year, keeping it normal is our best therapy.
In addition to asking you to check and look after yourselves, I also suggest that men of a certain age learn more about how to be proactive in the fight against prostate cancer. You can find out more about it here: Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer is killing more men than breast cancer is killing women – get your PSA checked by having a simple blood test.
Big Love, AG xx