I’m happy to report that the NHS translation of immediately did mean soon. Short notice but on Wednesday it was time to start Brentuximab.*
I realised how reassuring the familiar can be as I walked into the ward and entered a room I stayed in before. Tiny, only big enough for me and the nurse (crowded even then) with a large and spacious adjoining bathroom. We caught up with ward gossip while she did the preliminary checks.
The doctors were new. The Registrar was friendly and chatty when she brought in the consent form listing the many risks. What might go wrong is far outweighed by what will go wrong without treatment. As I signed the form I crossed my fingers, toes, eyes, legs and everything else I could manage. I’m due some good luck, right?
It only took two attempts to get the cannula in (well done!) and once all the test results arrived we got started. Less than an hour later it was over and we waited to see what would happen.
Not much. I was off centre and queasy for a while but that’s all. The weirdest sensation was of being poked in the chest by an invisible finger. Those sharp prods let me know the drug had found the cancer and was doing its job. At least that’s what I hope.
Unlike the more primitive chemos of previous treatment, Brentuximab is clever and only targets Hodgkin’s cells. This means I’m not poisoned in the same way and could almost convince myself that I’m well.
Almost. Not quite.
First is the familiar documentation I now carry with me.
Subtle isn’t it?
Second is the plethora of supportive medicines I take to offset the risks caused by Brentuximab. Only eight this time.
Third is the almost weekly hospital appointment I need to slip into my work schedule without letting on that I’m in treatment.
However so far so good as they say. The next Brent-day is in 3 weeks and I’m already well enough today to get on with life. That’s good. It’s important to me that I do as much as I can for as long as I can.
The rest will come soon enough.
*To find out more about Brentuximab please visit The Hodge information page.