Yes, all right, I do actually know. But my most recent scan reminded me of an ancient sketch by the I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again team: ‘Cold titz – or Ice Cubes down my cleavage…’
Now this scan is really important, because it’ll tell us what effect – if any – my six doses of chemo have had on Boris the Bloated Bastard and his motley crew. I’m not expecting miracles (even though I believe in them) but I would like to feel that we’ve got in at least one debilitating blow to stop his bid to take over my body. (You are not welcome, Boris. Bugger off…)
Annoyingly it was clear when I got up that the diarrhoea that caused my poonami on Tuesday was still with me – not the best start. The weather was cold and frosty, and I definitely wasn’t firing on all cylinders, so it was thanks to Rosemary’s quick thinking that we got the garage open and the car out just barely in time for me to head off to the hospital.
For a CT scan you’re advised to drink a litre of water before arriving, but under the circumstances I had to drink the final half litre on the way. Not ideal, though I managed it. Then there was the slow and erratic driver on the Woolpit road. And the almost-but-not-quite predictable pileup of traffic coming off the A14 at Bury St Edmunds. Between them they meant I arrived at the CT van about eight minutes late. Luckily they were running a bit late as well, so hopefully I didn’t discommode anyone else.
I should explain that West Suffolk’s CT scanner is housed in a static caravan off to one side of the main building. It has its own little parking area and you wait there for someone to come out and invite you in. Once inside – on this occasion – it was clear to me that the van itself was pretty cold. Both nurses were dressed a little more warmly than usual (and needed to be!) but gave me the cheery welcome I’ve come to expect from my amazing care team.
Stripping off my hoodie I became more aware of the cold, but also revealed my Boris t-shirt, to the intense amusement of my nurse. Less amusing was her necessary but challenging attempt to find a spot for the canula – we needed one to pump in the special dye they use to show up vital details on the scan. The cold was making it all but impossible to see my veins (thin and good at hiding even in a warm room, as we noted at my initial colonoscopy!) Nor was hot water available – the water tank for the van was frozen. Eventually we did find something warm enough to reveal a vein on my left wrist – so we had success at the fourth attempt.
After that a quick scan – interrupted briefly because I’d forgotten I had stuff in one of my pockets – and it was all done. As I put on my Viking hoodie I explained its significance to my nurse. ‘I’ve got a terminal diagnosis,’ I said, ‘but I’ll believe it when I’m dead.’
The drive home was a comic interlude in itself. I’d hoped to get rid of my litre of pre-scan fluid before leaving, but it proved impossible to find another parking space, so I took a chance.
Twenty minutes later I was in bladder-busting agony driving up the A14. It didn’t improve as I drove through Woolpit, vaguely wondering if I could crash in on one of our friends there. Eventually, having taken a much lesser-used turnoff up to Buxhall, I had to make an emergency exit to take a pee on the verge. One car passed me and doubtless thought the worst of me but frankly I couldn’t have gone on another mile…
In the meantime – another of those Gethsemane moments. I see my oncologist, Dr Stancliffe, on Thursday. And that’s when I’ll know whether I’ve drawn blood in the battle with Boris.
Here’s hoping. Because, as the hoodie proclaims, ‘better to fight and fall than to live without hope’.