Insa’s Diary – June 2001

Insa’s Diary – June 2001

7th June
Last week was chemo week, it wasn’t too bad but as per usual in the hospital, I didn’t sleep very well (despite being very tired), so I’m still catching up now. I went through a series of scans on Friday and Monday to see how the disease had changed. Some of them were very scary, especially the MRI scan which is the one where they put you into a tunnel for 15mins or so. It’s very noisy and claustrophobic. Today I went in for some of the results. I’d had an inkling that there’d be a “do you want the good news or the bad news” scenario, but I still wasn’t quite prepared for what I was told this morning. While my lungs and chest are practically back to normal and my liver is responding really well, there is still some cancer in the bone marrow, and that is where they really did not want it to be. It forces me to make a very difficult decision. I could opt for more chemos which may or may not work, or I could just say no and see what happens. You know how little I like chemo, and huge amounts of drugs. It will take a lot of thinking. Well, I’m going for some distraction now anyway. There’s a strawberry & cream tea on downstairs. Taste of summer and all that…

Oh, before I forget, there’s a charity auction for Maggie’s Centre at Ottakar’s Bookshop on 22nd June, 7pm. Tickets are £5 and get you a catalogue and refreshments. Hosted by Sally Magnusson, lots include original artwork, limited editions, signed copies,…

14 June
The decision is made! I will not have more chemotherapy and will instead opt for a combination of alternative therapies, including high dose vitamins, echinacea and mistletoe. I had my appointment with Professor Barrett (my consultant) today, and she agreed that this was a sensible decision, and she seemed quite happy for me to try out the alternative therapies. The chemo has helped with the cancer in the soft tissue (ie liver and lungs) but had little effect on bones and bone marrow. Another 6 months of chemo may not have any effect and might knock my immune system to very low levels which would make me very ill and miserable.

The aim now is rehab, lots and lots of physio and to get home to our new flat and live as normal a life as possible. The alternative therapies will be much kinder to my body and mind – and the prof says things often happen that she can’t explain medically. I want to be a such a miracle case!!!

I had a visit from a newspaper reporter and photographer today. They’re doing a piece on Ottakar’s auction for Maggie’s Centre, and I’m providing the “human interest” part of it. I was so apprehensive about the whole thing, but it wasn’t too bad in the end. Anne, the reporter, was very nice and even brought me some flowers and cake from Peckham’s! I’ll pig out on that cake as it’ll be the last piece for a month – my echinacea treatment requires a vegan diet (with very few “exception foods” and treats). Then again, life without egg and cheese sauce won’t be all that bad…

18th June
I’ve moved! I am now in the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital through the week and back at Huntershill at weekends. They sent me here in the hope that I will get more physio to build up my strength faster (to get home!!!!) and possibly reduce the effect of my leg spasms – and also to ensure that my homeopathic detox programme is properly supervised. The good bits so far are a lovely garden that I get to from patio doors from my room, a common dining area and an easy to use en-suite!! I have also already had acupuncture to help with my leg spasms (sometimes helps MS patients who also suffer from a similar sort of twitches that I get). The bad side is that it is back to standard (bog standard?) hospital food – yuk! However, one of the patients told me that they can do a nice veggieburger – I’ll try that tomorrow. Just as well my parents are coming up – mum can do some catering from the camper van!

25th June 2001
Here I am still at the Homoeopathic (note correct spelling!!!!)Hospital – they had extra staff so I could stay the weekend – it was very quiet over the weekend as most people go home for the weekend. Mum and Dad are up – supplying me with yummy food & drink. What has made the hospital food slightly more bearable (I still need to eat it when parents are travelling) is that I am now registered as vegan – this gives you the extra choice of vegiburgers, nut cutlets & vegi kievs!! (SK – Shame it took 5 months to find this out!!) The article appeared in the Evening Times last Tuesday – everybody said it was a nice picture of me too. I am not convinced but then I have never really liked myself in pictures… Friday night was the auction night – I got to go – only the second big trip out since Feb. It was for Maggies Centre – a drop in centre for cancer patients & their families where they can get advice, help or just a quiet space to relax/think. It’ll be built a stones throw away from the Beatson. Sally Magnusson hosted the evening which was great fun – thanks to all those who turned up to take part and/or see me!! Stewart & I even managed to get the Debi Gliori Mr Bear watercolours that we fancied. All in all, we raised just over £6000 – someone paid £650 to be a character in one of Ian Rankin’s next novel!!! It was so nice to see all my colleagues again – and so much fun! Needless to say, I was totally exhausted – I was fast asleep on Saturday morning – the nurses didn’t dare wake me up. I got my painkillers over 2 hours late and you know what? – NO PAIN. I’m doing well…I’ll need to go as more homoeopathic concoctions, lunch and echinacea tablets await.