Wednesday, August 22, 2018
At this point, before I post further, I think it appropriate that I add a few lines about my situation; inevitably it will be in the background of anything else that I write.
I have Stage IV Renal cancer, which means that, although the (massive!) 13cm tumour was removed, along with my right kidney, adrenal gland and some lymph nodes, it was not before cancerous cells had spread, in my case, to my lungs. Stage IV is not curable. Treatment is aimed solely at managing it, trying to keep it under control for as long as possible.
Dr Google, whose bedside manner we know leaves a lot to be desired, tells me this: statistically, I have only an 8% chance of still being alive in 5 years’ time.
Let’s say I’m lucky enough to be in that 8%: will I still be well at that time or will my health be obviously failing? I’m 59. Let’s say I get 7 years: that will barely get me to State Pension age. It seems awfully presumptuous of me to double the statistical average and expect 10. I had always taken it for granted somewhat, as one does, that I’d live at least as long as my parents did. They died in their late seventies, which seems a hopelessly long way off from where I am now. One grandfather lived to 99 and, well, that just seems like the wildest science fiction.
It’s now 13 weeks since my radical nephrectomy, major surgery, and I am recovering well. Well enough, certainly, to have swum in the sea 5 times in 4 days (and done a foolish amount of walking) at the Suffolk coast last week. (I overdid it. I knew I would! We all knew I would.) I am not on any medication at the moment and have no further hospital appointments until November-ish, when another CT scan will tell us if the things on my lungs have grown, either in size or number, and thus whether or not I will be introduced to one of several unpronounceable drug names. While I feel good and have no symptoms, I am happy to put the start of drug treatment off for as long as possible.
I read that they are making dramatic advances in kidney cancer these days. I can hope, but I cannot assume, that something will come along in time to benefit me; I guess my main target, tricky enough in itself, is to get to that 5 year mark. Anything else, well...