Tomorrow the seasaw tips and I start on the second half of my radiotherapy treatment. Just 19 fractions to go and then the doughnut and I part company.
Many of my prostate pals have already done their time: Bassie and Chas have gone, and John has one session left. Unfortunately their places are quickly taken as prostate cancer seems all the rage these days.
The many new faces include Sir Alan, a transatlantic sailor and board-level businessman. He’s now in his 80s but sailed to the Caribbean and back when he was 65 and was messing about on his boat in the Solent last weekend.
As you can see from the picture I finally got one of the doughnut jockeys to take a snap of my insides. These are the screens they look at while I’m being nuked.
They take pictures of a series of slices through the abdomen. The white sections on either side are my hip bones and the central section is my prostate and bladder. I think the red circle indicates the prostate and the flattened orange circle is a lymph node. This has to be zapped as the cancer has set up camp there.
Lymph nodes and lymph vessels form a superhighway that allow fluids to be transported around the body. Unfortunately cancer likes to hitch a ride on this highway and uses it to spread, hence the need to take out this particular node.
Personally I don’t think I’ve ever looked lovelier than in the picture below, but the prostate shows clearly in blue. Just above that keen sailors will have spotted three tabs marked Pitch, Roll and Yaw, all rated at zero. So clearly the radio-waves I was surfacing barely ruffled the surface.
If anyone has anything to add and can decode these pictures better than I, then please do so.
Sometimes people talk about cancer in unhelpful ways. In newspapers a celebrity is said to be ‘battling cancer’ and if they die they’ll have ‘lost the fight’.
At times it’s suggested cancer can be beaten if only people try hard enough. I know why newspapers do this because it plays to the emotions, but it in no way reflects what it’s like to be a cancer sufferer. When people succumb to the disease, suggesting they’ve lost a fight or didn’t try hard enough to overcome it is odious.
My approach is to treat cancer with the contempt it deserves. I cycle to my hospital appointments and go to the gym twice a week ostensibly to keep healthy, but actually it’s my way of saying you’re not going to stop me living my life buster. Or else I just laugh at it and hope it feels ashamed of itself.
Of course I’m aware it may be the Unwelcome Guest who has the last laugh, but when a person dies, the cancer goes too. Deeply unsatisfactory for the host and presumably the Guest.