Sunday, 13 September 2015

Annual Scan Friday 11th September 2015.

So, here we go again. This now my fifth annual scan since my first CRS with HIPEC in Feb 2010 and third since my re-diagnosis in 2012 and subsequent de-bulking surgery.

 We had an uneventful journey from Bristol to Basingstoke, both weather and traffic was kind. It was an early start for us as we had to be in the bloods clinic for 10am. Unusually there was no-one else there and despite going armed with my fast track card I didn’t need to queue jump as I was the first. However, I don’t think that the fast track simply allows you to queue jump it also acts as a flag to the phlebotomist that the bloods need to be analysed quickly as you are also due a CT in an hour’s time.

Bloods done, we headed for Radiology and the CT scanner, now a well trodden path for us we were soon in the waiting room well ahead of our time. Again, it was fairly quiet. As I’d not eaten for four hours beforehand and being a habitual grazer I was now starting to feel a tad peckish! The nurse brought out the contrast drink bang on time at 11am and I proceeded to “drink down to the line” over the next 45 minutes.

 My name was soon called. I donned the hospital gowns and then was led to a chair where a nurse then inserted a cannula into my right arm. Much better than the blood test where despite not feeling a thing I was clearly going to bruise beautifully! Opposite me was an older chap who was also getting his cannula fitted. However the nurse seemed to be having trouble finding a suitable vein.

I soon found myself in the CT scanner, an old pro at this I knew exactly what to expect, that familiar warm sensation as the iodine is injected into the cannula. For me it starts in the back of the neck along with a metallic taste and then quickly spreads throughout the body and most acutely felt in the groin making you feel like you have wet your pants!

It was soon all over and I was again ushered back to the chair where I had to sit for ten minutes before having the cannula removed. Opposite the nurse had called in reinforcements and the poor chap already had three separate plasters down his right arm where she had failed to find a vein that would comply with her increasing desperation to get the line in. Luckily her colleague managed it after a little help with some warm water in a surgical glove placed over the intended next attempt.

Dressed and ready to go Tracey and I then headed to C2 ward to meet with Brendan Moran, Vicki Evans and the hospital press officer. We were armed with a cheque for £856 that was raised by my colleagues at work in a recent dress-down day the money raised by the staff  was then matched by Nisbets Plc.  

 We caught up with the team on C2, there were lots of new faces as many of the nursing staff that had previously cared for me had moved on to pastures new. The ward was full, Psuedomyxoma Peritonei operations are now being done two every Tuesday and two on the Thursday of every second week. The team there are certainly very busy.

 We posed for photos and had a quick chat with the press officer Eloise who is also writing a short piece about our fundraising. We also bumped into Suzanne Alves who is now busy with research, she told us that a recent survey had been sent to 299 patients from the last six years and had a great response from everyone. Having such a response from a large selection of people is key to identifying meaningful trends and patterns in the data gathered.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to Bristol, content that we’d been able to help in our own small way in the battle against this god awful disease. Whether it’s buying equipment for the ward or put towards research hopefully it will make a difference somewhere.

So now I get to enjoy the phenomenon known as “Scanxiety” in the PMP world for the next three weeks to a month whilst I wait for the letter or telephone call that decides my fate...