It was question and answer time at the hospital yesterday. And I have to say that I was very impressed by how honestly my oncologist Yolanda answered my very direct questions.

The day got off to a bit of a frantic start. Not only was Nog packing up to leave for his month-long job teaching English at a residential camp for kids in Alicante, but Pipocas found out she might have to leave the hospital earlier than planned and, if I was going to start chemo, this would mean that I’d be left on my own. And so on the way to meet Pipocas I stopped by the girls’ apartment – woke them up! – and asked daisyfae if she was still okay about coming to the hospital just in case, as she had previously offered. She was, and so off we went.

And three hours later my whole life changed.

It kinda went like this. I thought I had a choice about either operating now or later, but it turned out that the very specialist surgical team that does the liver op stuff is way booked up (also it’s summer holidays) and so my only option now is to start chemo for a cycle or two (3-6 weeks) and then have surgery. The chemo will start on Monday.

Further questioning led to me asking about my REAL medical condition and prognosis. And I mean, a LOT of extra questioning. Yolanda wasn’t giving anything away but what finally came out was this. . .

  • that I’d had a very aggressive tumour that metastasized very quickly to my liver
  • that after liver surgery there will be a 50% chance of the cancer returning
  • that with chemotherapy this will be reduced to 45%
  • that once I finish chemo I will need to be tested every three months

Pretty scary stuff. Yet somehow I feel more ‘at home’ knowing where I stand. This is much better than going through the chemo and liver surgery and THEN being told the odds. Which aren’t particularly in my favour, are they? I was surprised at how little difference having chemo made.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t feel like giving up and dying. But I also don’t think that I can “fight cancer” by doing anything more than following the prescribed treatment and continuing to enjoy my life. It’s a very serious illness. I’ll either get better or I won’t. Dammit.