(Very) bad news… (Part 3)
By the time I arrived back at Oxford to meet Mr. P for my diagnosis discussion, I was, I’d say, about 98% sure it was going to be the bad news I’d been told to expect. The remaining 2% wasn’t based on anything other than hope (or denial, I’m not sure I know the difference anymore!). My mind continued to rebel against the concept of my own death and maybe it should just continue doing that, until the very moment I’m dead. There is a primal urge to survive and no amount of intellectualism or rationalization can completely quell that, at least not in me. Mr. P is one of the most inspiring and incredible men I have ever met. Today though, I found out that as gifted as he undoubtedly is, delivering bad news is not his core strength! I could have done a better job than he did and there was something strangely comforting about that. I didn’t harbor any resentment this time though - he is after all, just a human-being, however extraordinary. The tumour was confirmed as being a Grade 4 Glioma brain-cancer called “glioblastoma multiforme”. I’d had plenty of time to research all the different types of tumours and so fully understood what this meant. For some reason, despite the gravity and grimness of the discussion, I couldn’t help but imagine Jeremy Clarkson sitting in the corner and as Mr. P talked on, I could almost hear him booming ‘hilariously’ “he’s got the worst type of cancer…. IN THE WORLD!” I took a deep breath and exorcised Jeremy from the room and returned my focus to Mr. P. He explained that the only option now was to be moved onto a radical (by that, read ‘harsh’) regime of combined radiotherapy and chemotherapy which would go on for 6 weeks, there would be a gap (to let my brain calm down from the ‘swelling’) and then they’d do a scan and see where I was and whether the cancer was back again . He told me that there was always the chance that I might be able to be operated on again and that if he could and I wanted him to, he would do. I understood what he was trying to say and I appreciated it. He seemed to very slightly let his guard down then. He said “Your surgery has been successful, no visible tumour in the post-op scan. Complete resection. I’ve seen some patients in your position last a couple of years. I’m seen some go in less than 12 months. Dr. D, in Reading, will look after you now. Good luck.” I’d written him a card by way of thanks for the surgery and his work and I passed it to him. It really mattered to me. I understood that without his work I’d only have weeks left by now, and I still had a chance to play for a good bit of time longer than that. As me and my wife left the hospital and started the somber journey home, I realized that was all that mattered to me now. Getting more time. More time to spend with my beautiful, radiant wife. More time to watch my incredible children grow up some more. More time to savour this incredible gift called life. I just want time. Go here to the start of the journey. Go here for next blog entry. Go here to view previous blog entry.