Saturday, 14 June 2008

Knocked sideways

In a strange place at the moment. All was going well. I had 2 treatments to go, the scans all looked to be progressing well and then this.
It was something I nearly didn't mention. I noticed that my left arm felt a bit tender, around the forearm. It felt tight and kind of "pumped up" (like just after working out at the gym). It felt a bit bigger than my right arm and hurt a bit if I squeezed or prodded it (yes, easy answer, don't squeeze or prod it!).
Anyway, I mentioned it to my nurse when she came round to give me an injection and she said to ring into the unit and get their advice. They said to either come in or nip to see my GP. As it's usually impossible to park there, I opted to see my GP. He agreed that it was swollen compared to the other arm and saw that the veins around the shoulder looked dilated. He told me to go in to the unit and get their opinion. So, yesterday I did.
My usual consultant is away on gardening leave. Quite literally. He has just got an alotment and is sorting it out. I saw another consultant, who reminded me a bit of Mr. Sulu from the original Star Trek series, in terms of voice and mannerisms. He was actually very cool and I liked him. I managed to avoid talking about Star Trek in case that triggered any bad reactions!
Anyway, after examining me, he said that there were two possibilities. One, I have a blood clot, which is restricting blood flow and causing the symptoms I'm seeing or, and this is what knocked me sideways, the Lymphoma has been regrowing. When I heard that, even though I knew it could be an option, as the swollen arm reminded me of some of my initial symptoms (swollen neck and face aka Mr Inflata-head) and my neck on the left has some swelling too. It looked like it could be caused by Superior vena cava syndrome (the superior vena cava is the major vein taking blood from the head, neck and upper body and arms. It flows through the chest and can easily be squashed up by tumours in that area), as it kind of matched symptomwise (and as I mentioned earlier, SVC syndrome was one of my early Lymphoma symptoms).
Even though it wasn't definite, I was still feeling gutted and shocked. My mind raced with thoughts of having nearly reached the finish line and then being sent back to the start again, with the prospect of hasher treatment to look forward to, with lowered chances of success. I then started to go really negative, scared that it might actually kill me after all and I'd never see my son grow up. It's horrible when your mind goes off on one! The cheeky blighter has been reined in again now, but for a good half hour or so, I was feeling quite distressed.
So, on Monday I am scheduled to have a CT scan. This will determine what the situation is with Mr Lymphoma. If the gods are with me, then the news could be great, in that the tumour has shrunk even more and is still on track. On the other hand, in the 6 weeks or so, since my last good scan and 2 cycles of chemo, it could have become resistant and started to regrow, meaning that my treatment plan would change. If the scan shows no regrowth, then I have an ultra sound scan booked in for wednesday, where they will check out my arm and neck, looking for any signs of blood clotting. So, basically, I'm hoping I have got a blood clot! Never thought I'd want one of those before.
My normal consultant is back on Monday too, so it will be good to see him and he knows my history better, so that may help.
Oh yeah, almost forgot. Until it can be show otherwise, I have to be treated as if I do have a blood clot (go on, have one), which means I have to have a daily injection of a blood thinning agent. Yay! A new injection.
I think they were a bit disappointed when I wasn't keen to inject it myself, so the district nurse is coming round to do that for me.

Anyway, so morbid moaning stuff aside, one thing I'm also interested in is film making. Although, since getting ill, I've not done much, my friend Paul recently reminded me of a little short film that my friend Rob and I made in January, so I thought I'd post it up for your viewing pleasure/pain.
The idea was that we gave ourselves 3 hours to come up with an idea, film it, edit it and have it done. The result is a bit rough around the edges in parts but was fun to do.


Sandra said...


Oh bugger

Sorry to be invading your blog once again. I know I’ve been visiting it from time to time now, but reading your post today I felt like this huge hippo walking uninvited in to a private collection of precious, fragile china. Did I mention the word private?
But then, isn’t it funny how you can grow to genuinely care about someone you don’t know?
The thing is your post really hit me. And I just felt like saying whatever happens just keep it up. You’re doing fine...
And did you say you did all the brainstorming, scripting, producing, reharsing, filming and editing in just and no more than 3 hours?!?
I must have got it wrong but if that’s the case (and even if it’s not quite)...phew. Never mind it being “a bit rough around the edges” – it’s an inventive fun sketch all the same – and a great sign off for your post
(it made me smile)
You could lose the last shot though. I felt the delivery would be better timed if you finished it with the close up of “the guy’s” reaction
(and... err... I was actually a proper scriptwriter in my previous life, by the way)

Keeping my fingers crossed for a blood cloth (that sounds odd, right?)

May The Force Be With You!

San x

Richard said...


Always great to have your comments. Don't feel you are entering somewhere private, you have a VIP guest pass!

Yes, it was 3 hours from nothing to finished short. As for scripting, rehersing and planning, hmmm, they were pretty much done on the fly. We'd a couple of takes, to get enough coverage or vary it slightly on each take to give some choice during editing (as we hadn't made our minds up before hand. No storyboarding etc).

So, you were a script writer? How cool. Yet another interest of mine. Something I really wanted to get into (and still do). My scripts to date have either: floundered in act 2 and been parked, been completed but upon reading them I want to do some really serious rewriting (after the initial rewrites) and ended up parking them or planned them out and then never actually written the script! Hmmm.

So, what do you do now, in this life?

Sandra said...

3 hours from nothing to finished product?!?... Right.
Can I please feel a little bad about myself for just a moment? Thank you.
(Tomorrow I WILL sit in front of my computer for 3 hours minimum and WILL NOT be allowed to go anywhere or get distracted by anything – and should, by the end of such period, have produced something of the written kind. Promise.)

Well. If you were hoping I worked for the BBC or BFI in the New Talents department, I’m sorry to disappoint you.
Guess I still am a scriptwriter, but haven’t had anything produced or broadcast for ages now. In my present life I’m trying to write a novel (emphasis on the word trying). Got really used to think in terms of scene description and dialogues, so the change to prose hasn’t been as straightforward as I hoped. At least that’s what I tell myself. I actually spend more time than I should on the net (youtube is evil) and visiting the odd blog... Also write audio scripts/listening exercises for language students (it’s a paid job).

What are your stories about?
Parking them in the middle is no good. If you have an idea/story I think you should just go for it till the very end. Ignore this act structure thing and all the stuff script book writers make a living talking about. Go with the flow; see where your ideas will take you. Once you reach the end, then... A break works for me. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the temptation of reading what you’ve just done. But when you’ve just finished a piece, you’re still too emotionally attached, so it’s easier to self indulge – or go the other way, and find it too rubbishy, get disappointed and abandon the project altogether. If you leave it for long enough to get some distance, then reading it again will probably show you the bits that are good, the ones that have got potential and the ones that should go straight in the bin. In my experience, the first pages (when I’m still trying to find my way through the story, establish background/character info, etc) always get trashed!

And once again, the overwriting prize goes to... You probably noticed by now: when I go off on one... but I do shut up – eventually. Really.

Just realised I don’t know anything about blood clots. Whatever.
I’m just really happy for you