The allotted hour had arrived. I made sure that I was fully hydrated so that my veins were plump with blood ready for the taking. I was called in by my oncologist and not a nurse. So far, so good.
“So, Anna how can I help you?”
“Well it’s about the recommendations that the Christie advised? Changing my treatment to an androgen based one?”
She looked at me blankly.
“You got the letter, right?”
She shook her head. I sighed and gave her my copy to read. It was an awkward five minutes. The letter outlined things that she had probably never heard of. I offered to leave the room and give her time to take it in. She refused but left briefly to take a copy of it. She was unsure. Unsure of the funding for the androgen treatment. She would need to contact the Christie for further information about that. Mr Salivary Gland gave the impression that this wasn’t an issue, but she wasn’t so confident. However, if it wasn’t an issue, she would be happy to oversee it.
I left feeling really deflated. I had built this appointment up and convinced myself that things would finally get going. Instead I got a don’t call us, we’ll call you with a provisional appointment booked in three weeks’ time to discuss it further. Humph.
Unbeknownst to me, at the same time this was happening, my seven-year-old nephew was wowing audiences in his end of year production, where he was playing Neil Armstrong. Yes, that Neil Armstrong. He of one small step and all that. Best not to ask why.
This meant that my family, quite rightly, were absorbed by this performance and assumed that my appointment was just a procedural thing. I sent them a text to which my Dad’s response of “Crikey” summed up the situation pretty well. My sister, on the other hand, was quite positive. We came up with a plan where I would email the Christie and explain the situation. I would also say that I would be happy to have the treatment in Manchester if it was definitely a no go in Nottingham.
One appointment down, one to go. The second one was with a speech therapist and a dietician. My speech and swallowing have got a lot worse in recent weeks. Although I can swallow liquids, when it comes to food, it backs up in my throat, causing me to gag. This means that eating anything takes me twice as long as it normally does. The upshot to this is that now I can fit into a pair of jeans I couldn’t three years ago, but it is draining and affecting my energy levels.
Rather embarrassingly I was slightly late for the appointment. However, this was shrugged away, and we got going. Apparently, my soft palate isn’t functioning that well. I was taught some simple exercises, such as holding my nose when I swallow and given a load of liquid supplements to fortify my diet. overall the appointment was really positive. I left feeling a lot more in control of the situation. Maybe my sister was right. Things weren’t that bad after all.