Wednesday, 20 April 2011


A long wait amid the high backed lilac coloured chairs to see the doctor and hear my fate. Interested to note that the whole chemo clinic has now moved. There is a new place for it upstairs – hope I never see it.

Professor Gabra is very charming and almost casually drops the news that I am fine, better than that almost. What do you say? I thought I would skip out of there with joy if I got good news, but when it comes it’s difficult to fully realise.

I also know that I am trapped in some strange kind of relativity; the longer I go on without a recurrence the better are my chances, but the longer I go on the more a recurrence is likely, at least within the next five years.

He asks if there are any “issues” he needs to know. I mentioned the strange inner rumblings and whinings I get. At Christmas I thought these noises and aches and pains in my diaphragm meant the cancer was back. It’s not, so I wonder what they are?

He actually has a name for them, a great long one that I can’t remember. They are caused by the drugs given to stop rejection of the chemo drugs which cause scarring over the peritoneum, if that is the right word - the inner lining of your inside. He says they take years to heal.

I don’t mind, I quite like the sounds which are rather like the noise of overhead cables, wiring and metal springs, or mysterious activity in a haunted house.

I said thank you to Prof. Gabra and his team, for their skill at saving my life. He seemed genuinely pleased to hear that. I said thank you to Mr Gabra and his team, for their skill at saving my life. He seemed genuinely pleased to hear that. Obviously I hadn’t made my gratitude clear enough before, but what happened to me after the operation, the terrible nursing on the Victor Bonney ward and the lack of care when I got home had rather overshadowed the good work of the surgeons.

“We try to provide a first class service,” he said, “but the way things are going we won’t be able to do that much longer. The NHS is heading for a bottom of the line service. The government wants all the money to go to the “community,” and GPs, we are expected to get by on very little.” He sounded genuinely despairing.

I was due to go up to a private view of an exhibition in Highgate. I have two paintings in the show, but after all that all I wanted to do was go home and sit quietly over a Pimm’s and borage in the garden.


  1. Well done, Jane. Another milestone ticked off.
    Was that your first 3 monthly check-up?
    Interesting about that drug that causes peritoneal scarring - that's a new one on me.

  2. So glad you encountered dear NED (No Evidence of Disease) - I always think Goons - and not his fell counterpart ED.

    That is the best we can expect - they've not found anything to fret over just now, but they're never going to say that proves there might not be something later.

    There is no END. Which is why my chap used to say this is like an endless steeplechase - one fence at a time and fingers crossed for a clear round.

    There were times in my first two years - when recurrence or spread was pretty well odds-on - when I almost wanted them to say they had found something, because the strain of waiting to hear every three months that they hadn't was nigh on unbearable. Like standing poised over a chasm and no backing away from the edge, I didn't want to be pushed in but knowing that any day I might was a wretched and sapping reverse Tantalus. Pretty wearing.

    One fence at a time and make the most of the ride between jumps. :)

  3. Congratulations Jane - that's excellent news.

    I had my 6 month one recently, next one six months.

    Just home now after the hernia operation, large piece of mesh inserted and all the original midline incision reopened. So it feels a bit like hyster mark 2. Hope your hernia will be small enough for a keyhole procedure.

    U3A locally does seem to be over 65s or over 70s. It may be a pattern. Perhaps these were some of the early pioneers, which is an interesting way of looking at it. I do think they have a good time though.

  4. Bella: That was my second three monthly check up, I am just into the long haul.

    Apricot: That hernia op sounds too drastic for me. I am hoping for something smaller. I hope you will be feeling much better soon.

    U3A is a bit disappointing round here in Ealing. I went to a meeting and the woman in charge was really deaf, it was rather off putting.