Leaving the hospital on Friday I cycled through The Cut at Waterloo and spotted an art deco antique shop called Radio Days. Well, I had to stop and take a picture for the blog. Thirteen RT treatments done, twenty six to go.
I want to introduce you to members of the St Thom’s Cancer Club (early morning shift). These are the guys I meet every day at around 8 o’clock as we sip water waiting for our treatment slot.
From left to right we are: Muggins, Bassie, John and Charles. We come in early as we all work full-time jobs. They are a cheery bunch, we have a good natter, and I always look forward to seeing them.
Bassie is a business consultant who helps start-ups write their business plans and secure finance. John, with his pleasant Irish brogue, is a security guard at a bank in Canary Wharf and Charles, or Chas, is a mechanic who has his own garage and a passion for MGBs. Both John and Chas are coming towards the end of their treatment. I’ll be sorry not to see them but interested to find who takes their place. Cancer, that most democratic of diseases, means I meet folks from all walks of life who I’d never normally come across. So who says cancer is all bad? Well me and everyone else who’s got it obviously, but more of that in a moment.
We are such creatures of habit. The early crew all sit in the same seats every day. I face Chas, while Bassie sits to his right and John is positioned a few chairs away to my left. Controversially (such a rebel) I sat in a completely different seat on Friday and so for the first time noticed the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sign that hangs at the back of the waiting room. What the hell is a Superficial Way Out? I don’t want some back of a fag packet way out, I want one that’s profound and sincere. Typical NHS can’t even fund proper exits.
In Radio Days (8) I mentioned the bladder discomfort I’d endured while inside the doughnut and was worried it might happen again. I managed to grab a few moments with Maria who looks after my treatment review and reassuringly, she thought my bladder might have been overly full or had some kind of spasm but was very unlikely to be a product of the treatment on the day. Her only concern was whether I felt fine after I’d had a pee. I did and so far, it hasn’t happened again.
Reading posts on the Prostate Cancer UK Support Group I see many people suffer side-effects induced by hormone therapy. They talk about mood swings and heightened emotions with people fine one minute and crying the next.
I too am on hormone therapy, which has some unfortunate side-effects: hot flushes and disturbed sleep, but in general I feel happy and optimistic.
A month ago Mrs Preen called me out for being a bit moody. Being a man and therefore having no self-awareness, I resolved to monitor my temperament.
Long before I got cancer, but when I was having a right old moan (hey I’m 60), she’d call me an old goat. Tough love in the Preen household.
Today after reading posts about mood swings and irritable behaviour I asked her how I was doing and whether I was exhibiting more goat-like tendencies than usual.
First, she asked if I wept quietly when alone. I don’t. Then came this: I’m astonished how cheerful you seem and are greatly improved! All of which left me smiling, but bewildered. Cancer, whatever next?