Friday, 15 August 2014

Is that a cancerous mass in your groin or are you just pleased to see me?

Dear Reader

So about eight weeks ago now, there I was, just woken up one saturday morning,- a day off-, and like every man everywhere, married or single, the first thing I did was check that my testicles were still attached to me...

They were...that was the good news.

The bad news was that overnight, I had developed a large swelling in my right groin...about the size of both of my fists.
I briefly wondered if it was a hernia but knew that it was a lymph node that was swollen, and  for no apparent good reason.

I saw the GP who thought that  it was a hernia and who referred me for an ultrasound...fortunately, the consultant who did the U/S immediately realised that it was a swollen lymph node and not a hernia and referred me very quickly for a CAT scan and then for a biopsy.

The biopsy was interesting...a (female) doctor exposed my groin and then stuck a huge freaking needle into it, several reminded me of my divorce negotiations.
It then took three weeks to get the result.

Which turned out to be something called "cancer of unknown primary".

This is a rare and vicious and extremely  rude form of cancer.
Rude, rude, rude.

And that was the good news.
There are five main subsets of CUP and they thought that mine was probably a squamous cell carcinoma, and so they decided to treat me for the worst type of that cancer.

Now this typically occurs in one of two places :-  the 'head-and-neck' area ....or the rectum.

"Rectum almost killed him'!

In the interim I saw a beautiful young oncologist who asked me to strip naked so that she could 
examine me as there was some concern that I had a malignant melanoma...I've previously had one, some 10 years ago which I beat.
This sort of naked experience usually costs  me £50.
She found a lump behind my right knee and sent me for an ultrasound of that.

That consultant wanted to know the story and then did the U/S.

Thats all good, she said, its something called a Bakers cyst 

"Thank goodness for that...its difficult enough trying to run from the Grim would have been freaking  impossible if I had to hop away on one leg!"

Oddly, she didn't laugh.
I've since discovered that none of the Oncology staff appear to share my sense of humour.

So then the oncologist sent me for  a PET scan.
That was the bad news.

So three weeks ago I was admitted to the local hospital,- St Vulvas-, for urgent chemotherapy.
The same beautiful oncologist came in to talk to me.

Good evening....Its very bad news I'm afraid...

"Uh huh...?"

The cancer has spread to your liver and right thigh and hip and left upper arm...

"Uh my long term survivability like..can you give me a number?"

About four months...

"Geez doc...don't be shy...don't sugarcoat the truth there..."

Well thats without treatment...

"Well....I assume that you are going to treat me though?"

She smiled 

They did.
So they started 100 hours of chemo.

It was very boring.
I had no side effects to speak off except extreme lethargy when I got home.

I saw the oncologist last week and the swelling in my groin has diminished by over 80%...
In her own words, she was "amazed".
Whilst they hope and expect the chemo to work, it typically only works after  two or three this is positive news.
It also means that their guess that I have a squamous cell primary is probably correct and that I am getting the correct treatment for it.

I'm due to have another one or two cycles and then a followup PET scan and then probably three more cycles every 21 days....I'm waiting for a call at the moment in fact.
There is a shortage of beds.

In the interim they will be looking for the primary.

Thats my story.

More later.


  1. Fuck sake man! Not the best. From a cancer survivor - testicular, but still a bastard at the time - try to stay positive and don't give up. You have all my best wishes. Keep us informed.

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  3. I'm very sorry to hear that you are sick. I was wondering what excitement you had found, but am very sad to hear your news. Good luck with it all. My thoughts are also with you.