Saturday 12th January 2013
Talk about being thrown headlong into 2013…..I have to say, never in a million years did I think that I would be preparing for our Christmas party on 7th December then taking a call less than a month later to be admitted to a cancer ward. I imagine everyone has the same feeling when they get the dreaded diagnosis of cancer, so this blog is going to be my journal as I find my way through a very different landscape to the one I expected in 2013. Stephen and I have been touched and even overwhelmed by the support that has poured in from more people than we realised we knew, and it already impossible to keep everyone updated with the latest news. My hope is that we can use this blog to keep everyone updated – please do feel free to post in reply. It will be lovely to stay in touch.
For anyone reading this who hasn’t followed the story so far, here’s a bit of history. We went on a business trip to New Orleans in May/June 2012 and I flew back with raging tonsillitis, which very soon became bronchitis. Had some time off work but I never really regained health and my tonsils just got bigger and bigger. The right one in particular took on the appearance of an alien life form, and after 4 visits to the doctor and 1 to the nurse I was finally referred to the hospital. We saw the consultant on 11th December (5 days after the afore-mentioned party, so we had actually started to feel a bit Christmassy) and within 5 minutes she had very gently given us her diagnosis. I am so grateful that Stephen came in with me. I was prepared to go to the hospital on my own as we were both so busy at work, but an intuitive nudge got me to ask him to come along to the hospital. An even stronger nudge on the way there made me realise he had to come in with me. Thank heavens for intuition. In the 15 minutes we were in her office, the consultant organised an immediate MRI scan and forced her way onto a theatre list for the following Monday so I could have a biopsy. A CT scan followed, then although we were going back to the consultant on 4th January I got a call on the evening of 2nd January (hangover only just gone!) asking me to come in the next morning for more tests, and be prepared to stay over. Over the next 2 days the story just got worse. Mantle cell lymphoma is a very aggressive and rare cancer and to stand any chance of survival I need to have equally aggressive chemotherapy which will see me pretty much out of action for the next 3-5 months. I usually stay well away from conventional medicine as far as possible, but this is non-negotiable. I will take the best from all forms of treatment that are available, conventional and alternative, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. I have some very dear and gifted friends who are advising me on the supplements to support my system as it is ravaged by the chemo, and I have a truly wonderful consultant who is taking advice from the leading expert on treating mantle cell lymphoma. I am in good hands. I’m going for my PET scan on Monday – that’s the one that will make me glow in the dark :-) – then on Tuesday I go in to have the Hickman line put in. Early Wednesday I start the chemo.
Stephen and I are just taking each day at a time. There is no other way for us at the moment as the bigger picture is too difficult to deal with. A friend commented on the unusual name of this cancer – a mantle usually covers something, and she wondered what could be revealed from this experience. I do believe there is a spiritual imbalance which is at the root of physical illness, which is why I have called this blog ‘Under Cover of Darkness’. In the hours before dawn everything does indeed appear very dark. But just as the Sun rises to bring light into our lives each day, so do I look with hope and optimism towards a revelation that will help all of this make sense to us.