On Tuesday we kept an appointment at Christchurch Public Hospital with the Radio therapy Oncologist and my main Oncologist about how they propose dealing with my cheeky Primary growth in the rectum.
The procedure is as follows:
Next Monday we will fly to Christchurch for the day for a Radiology Planning appointment. This is where they do a ‘dummy run’ with me as the dummy. (they don’t even need to give me a psych test to determine that!) They will use a CT scanner to line up the rectal tumour and surrounding areas. I will then be marked with ‘tattoo spots’ in the front, rear and both sides where the rays will be centred. No radiology will be performed on this trip.
Bronwen and I will then return to Christchurch for the first of 28 daily (except weekends) radiation therapy appointments from 25th August. I am told the effects will be cumulative and that I will probably feel quite uncomfortable towards the end of the six week period (probably a typical British understatement!) – the result of sunburn where the sun doesn’t normally shine! The radiotherapy will be accompanied by daily chemo for the 5 weeks as well. Because my liver is in such good condition the medicos are treating the primary cancer as if its a new one and will through everything at it.
By my reckoning the radiation should finish on 1 October but we will probably stay in Christchurch for a few days as I don’t think I will immediately fancy a 5 hour drive back to Nelson. I have been told it will take a few weeks for the area to settle down so it will be around the end of October that the offending area will be excised under surgery at Nelson Hospital.
We’re fastening our seatbelts for this next ride down the rapids, although I think that particular analogy is a bit painful!
The medical team in Christchurch and our local GP seem pretty up-beat about my prospects. I am fortunate that my whole body is being monitored for metastases as a continuation of the liver trial that I was on. Even if new metastases appear in the liver, its condition is so good that surgery would be an option in dealing with such an eventuality.
Any sort of invasive treatment such as radiation and surgery carry risks and are pretty drastic. The surgery will mean I will have to have a permanent stoma, however, as my GP lightheartedly commented, “Better a bag than a coffin!”
I will continue to watch my diet and persue natural foods that fight cancer, enhance liver, bowel and immune function, but our trust remains in the Lord to rule and over-rule and work through whoever and whatever is best to complete His will in our lives. God has been generously gracious to us this far. We have no reason to doubt His continuing faithfulness and tender mercies for this next leg of the journey.