The New Normal # 3 – The Bad, The Good and The Ugly

Right then, me again. Cancer boy. I had a consultation today and thought some of you might be interested in what happened – if you’re not then, y’know, stop reading and do something else. Like clean the toilet or polish your collection of horse brasses.

The Bad

So, my CT Scan apparently showed that the cancer has spread a little from my thigh up to my abdomen plus a couple of nodules have turned up (one in my lung and one in my kidney). This sucks but compared with the notion that my body was riddled with cancer this was by far the lesser of two evils. Melanoma is a tricksy little beast, apparently, so it’s still fairly unpredictable but there’s a whole host of research being done all the time so let’s move on to….

The Good

The lovely lady from Leeds who is now my key worker was able to poo-poo pretty much everything my ill informed GP had told me two weeks ago. Firstly, ‘Incurable’ is not a word that is so easily applied to melanoma any more and, although it can’t quite be replaced with curable, there is so much more that can be done which is starting to leave us folks with cancer in a place that is between incurable and curable – this place is called manageable with a possibility of curable. This is a good place to be compared to the place I’ve been for the last two weeks.

Secondly, chemotherapy isn’t the knee jerk response it used to be. Instead, I get to have an operation to remove the Granny Smith sized lump in my thigh which is delightfully known as a groin dissection – I’ll just let that one hang in the air while any male readers retrieve their testicles from inside their body and dry their eyes. All done? Good. And then, there’s the far more tempting sounding Immunotherapy (yes it’s a word, Word’s spell-checker just hasn’t caught up with the world of medicine yet). So, instead of bombarding my body with stuff that will generally make me vom everywhere and rot my teeth from the inside out, I get to have my immune system boosted like Lance Armstrong if he had been born on Krypton.

Finally, according to a doctor (a real, trained up doctor), I’m young, fit and healthy which is all in my favour. So, lump out of the leg, immune system pumped up like Donald Trump’s sense of self-worth, and a light at the end of the tunnel. Sure, it’s still a very long tunnel and it’s going to be painful to get through it but it’s not the brick wall we thought it was.

The Ugly

Now, you might be wondering how I know all of the above information. Well, I went to visit my new key worker who is a Dermatologist and, as part of this meeting, she wanted to do a full skin check. Yeah, a full skin check. Head and face, fine. Upper body, wobbly but fine. Feet and legs, not bad (I don’t mind my legs). “Can you just roll on to your side Mr Monger?”, no problem. All clear. Turn back on to my back you say? My pleasure. What’s that? Oh sure, that’s my left testicle. Yup, old lefty has just pulled a Partridge and popped out. Don’t worry folks, I styled it out and the offending item was retracted. Only to be followed by the ritual humiliation of having my arse crack checked for moles by a complete stranger wearing latex gloves. Like I said, ugly.

Anyway, if you can get the above images out of your head for long enough then I hope you’ll join me in feeling a little relieved and hopeful for the future. Also, a whole load of women that I know and love dearly (plus my 18 month old son) have decided to put themselves through the agony of running 3 miles for Cancer Research so feel free to sponsor them and make this a less painful journey for the next guy. Check out their quest here: 

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