Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Meeting the Top Man

21 March 2017

It's been a long time coming but today I'm due to meet the consultant, Mr. Kockelbergh. Sandra has gone to London with Petra and they are meeting up with Emma there. I drop off Petra & Sandra at Grantham Station before making my way to Leicester. Straight forward journey and arrive in plenty of time for a coffee and a Danish before my appointment. Just 5 minutes late getting in and I'm shaking hands with the Top Man.  The first thing he tells me is that the lymph node on my left adrenal gland is benign. We then go on to discuss the lump on my right kidney which, he says, is 90% likely to be cancer. Surprisingly, he then gave me a choice - I could have the whole kidney(and the lump) removed or just a partial kidney removal with the lump.  Apparently at my age (72) I am just on the borderline and if I was 75 he wouldn't have given me the choice - It would have been a full kidney removal. I chose to have the partial kidney removal which will be carried out using a relatively new keyhole surgery procedure using a robot! Mr Kockelburgh has carried out over 30 of these procedures over the past two years so I am pretty confident. He did explain that it will be about 15 years before I get the full benefit but I told him that I'm optimistic about reaching 87!

So now I'm on his list and should only have to wait between 3 and 4 weeks. He said that it will probably be nearer 3 than 4 but we will have to wait and see.  Between 3 and 4 weeks is Easter.

I think that considering I was told at the end of January that I probably have cancer of the kidney, the outcome is very positive.  We are all looking forward to the time after the operation and life can get back to normal.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Leicester General Hospital

Thursday 2 March 2017

Today is the day I hope to find out exactly what we are dealing with and what the treatment plan is.  Sandra and I set off to Leicester at 8:30am for an appointment at 11:05.  The journey should take less than 90 mins but the traffic could be busy.  The A46 was very slow but we didn’t see the reason for it. We arrived at the hospital at about 10ish so after we parked we went for a coffee before going to the clinic.  They took my details at the clinic – very busy with 9 consulting rooms!  I didn’t get in until 12:30ish.  We discussed the mass on my right kidney but he was very concerned about a lymph node near my left adrenal gland.  The scan doesn’t show any detail so it is important to find out exactly what it is.  As a result, I have to go back to Leicester next Wednesday to have another CT scan to identify what it is on my adrenal gland.  Hopefully it will not be significant but whatever it is I can’t do anything to change it.  They have also made a follow-up appointment for 21 March.
After the consultation we had a talk with a specialist nurse to explain all the possible outcomes and to answer any questions we had.  It was a very useful session and I have leaflets and books giving a detailed explanation of everything I need to know.
Just when we thought we were moving forward another problem has arisen that needs sorting out. We remain in limbo for a bit longer but continue to hope for a positive outcome.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

It's not unknown any more

Friday 17th February 2017

The day has finally arrived to discover what all this is about.

The day started with walking the dogs just after 7am - Mornings are getting lighter much earlier now. Back home - Change into my running gear and off for another stage of working up to a 5K run again.  Half an hour later I'm back for breakfast. Sandra is out with our friend Ann and I'm just pottering about killing time.  After lunch Sandra pops out again and I have a shower. Just dried and dressed and I ge a phone call from my consultants secretary - My immediate thought was that my appointment was cancelled - Could I get to the hospital for an earlier appointment - 4pm instead of 5:20pm.  I phoned Sandra who came straight home - A quick walk with the dogs and an early dinner for them.  We had an hour to get to the hospital and we needed just about all of it - The traffic was horrendous but we made it with 5 minutes to spare. Eventually we were shown into a consulting room to be met by Mr Varadaray (Raj) who explained the results of my CT scan.

I had cancer on the base of my right kidney - about 4cm in diameter. This type of cancer grows at about 1cm per year so there is a good chance that it has been growing there for 4 years!  The good news is that there is a recognised procedure for dealing with this. My case has been referred to Leicester Hospital which is the Centre of Excellence for this operation. It will probably be keyhole surgery where the cancer and part of my kidney will be removed - Then that's it - Job done!  Maximum stay in hospital likely to be 3 days but could be just overnight.  No chemotherapy or radiotherapy required but regular check ups and scans for up to 5 years.

To say we were relieved doesn't do it justice - we were really really chuffed - It felt like we were walking on air on our way back to the car.

So now we know what we are dealing with.  Leicester will discuss my case next Thursday and I should hear from them soon afterwards.

So all in all a good result with a positive outlook for the future - It could have been so much worse.

We are down in Sussex for a few days for Emma's Birthday - More news as it comes.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Saturday 11th February 2017

Since my CT scan last Sunday, we have been waiting for an appointment to see the Consultant. Well, we are a little nearer to knowing what we are dealing with - I had an appointment in the post today for next Friday 17th February at 5:20pm.

We are still no nearer knowing what 'it' is but at least we know when we'll find out.

Despite everything, we are trying to live a normal life.  I have no pain - no symptoms - I feel good.  I am constantly aware of all the possibilities but at this stage it is what it is and I can't change that.

Emma came to stay with us for a couple of days which was great - we've had a meal celebrating Petra & Mac's wedding anniversary - I've played bowls (and won!) - I've started running again.

Last August I started a running programme "Couch Potato to 5K in 8 Weeks" and I was running (and walking) every couple of days until I reached the ultimate aim of Running 5K in 35 mins. The last time I went running was in October and then it became too cold and I felt I had achieved what I started.  Now I have started again and it feels great - not necessarily when I'm running but when I've finished and can see what I have achieved.

Now we have got another weeks wait but I will let you know as soon as I know anything.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bridge Climb and Cafe Sydney

Wednesday 8th February 2017

Today is the day I was supposed to be climbing to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had booked it well in advance because it is a very popular event but when I found out that we couldn't go the cancellation process was easy and straight forward and the £175 is back on my card.

Our daughters and their families - that is : Petra, Emma, Mac, Nick, Caitlin and Luke booked a meal for us on the Outside Terrace at the Cafe Sydney tonight for our Golden Wedding. We thank you all - It would have been magnificent and we are so disappointed not to be able to be there. 

No news yet but I expect to have an appointment at Lincoln County Hospital sometime this week.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Scan Day

Sunday 5th February 2017

Just a normal sort of day really - Walking the dogs - Doing a few jobs around the house - Lunch.  No eating 2 hours before the appointment which is at 3:15pm.  We didn't want to be late so we set out too early and the roads were pretty clear. On arrival we made our way to the X-Ray Department and booked in. We were directed to a wonderfully named room - Sub Wait 4! Just a few people in there and eventually a nurse calls my name out and gives me two plastic cups of water to drink and then takes me into the CT Scanner room.  Name? DoB? First Line of Address? Am I allergic to anything? Would I be ok if I had to have an injection? Any metal in your trousers? (I was wearing a pair of jogging bottoms).  I must have got all the questions right because they asked me to lie down on the platform that moves through the 'doughnut' of the scanner. Holding my arms above and behind my head I was shunted in and out of the scanner a few times before they put a cannula in my arm and then pumped some fluid through me. The suddenly it's all over - cannula out and a plaster on my arm - Thanks very much - Off you go.

Now we just have to wait for the results and see what we are dealing with.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

CT Scan Tomorrow

Saturday 4th February 2017

The last few days have been a bit of a blur. I played Bowls again on Tuesday morning and we tied. We've been to garden centres - been shopping - had lunches out - bought a tree - just keeping occupied. On Thursday I received an appointment for my CT scan - Sunday at 3:15pm at Lincoln County Hospital. Once that has been completed I will still have to wait about a week to find out the results.  All this waiting and not knowing is probably the worst bit so far.

We have dismantled our holiday to Australia and cancelled things that we had booked. The insurance claim is all finished except for the section that my GP has to complete. When I took it in yesterday there was a different receptionist and everything was fine.

Our eldest daughter Petra is coming to have dinner with us today.  The rest of her family are either away or doing their own thing so it will be good to see her.