CT, Oncologist and the unspoken fear


Cancer is a prick of a disease. (Oh wait, I wouldn’t know. I have lumps.) It can show up anywhere the little bastard.

So after 4 weeks of hoarseness, headache and so on, I’m not stupid. It was obvious what the cause could be. Kerryn and I hedged around it but I knew she didn’t want to talk about it. My brother can read and he knew my fear. Hell, even my eldest daughter mentioned but didn’t mention what she was worried about.

Had it spread to my larynx? All the pointers said yep.

After yesterdays excitement (yawn) of the Emergency department, today was crunch time. An urgent CT scan was set for midday and a follow up appointment with my Oncologist was set for 4pm. I had the CT OK, even with contrast which, over the past few scans, had made me incredibly ill. But I was OK. We then went home and waited for our 4 o’clock appointment.

Yesterday I had an x-ray of my chest and they found my broken collar bone and the plate in my shoulder and my chemo port. They also mentioned the lumps or their effects but there was one comment, about lymphatic something or other that Kerryn took interest in.

I’m not big on self diagnosis and the internet is a bad thing for this, but I applaud Kerryn for her initiative. She Googled the phrase and it came up with the possible causes. One led her to the symptoms of a fungal infection from spores found in the droppings of birds. So what you say. Well, I breed budgies and they poop…alot. All the symptoms matched perfectly with what I was suffering from and while I don’t like self diagnosis, the one red flag in my mind when thinking that the tumors had spread was that I didn’t have a sore throat, a cough and I wasn’t bringing up any phlegm. Symptoms that the larynx was affected. Anyway, it gave me hope as I now knew there were other possible causes to my 4 weeks of huskiness.

So off we go to the Oncologist. As always I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst. Would I see Christmas? I must admit I was scared. I am pretty sure Kerryn was too. I mentioned to him about the fungal infection but he dismissed it. (I’m still not convinced he was right) but none the less. He explained that the biggest lump had grown again and was now interfering with a lymph node. This lymph node is connected to the nerve that connects to my vocal cords. So either one or both of my vocal cords is partially or fully paralysed, hence my lack of voice.

So a couple of options. Well, not options at all really. I have to re assess my treatment. This means going back onto the heavy chemo. The chemo I hate. The chemo I dread. The chemo that fucks with my mind as well as my body. Irinotecan. I start that this week. Great. But if I have to then I have to.

The second thing is seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to investigate my vocal chords to see if there is permanent or reversible damage. But it will take a while to see someone so chemo is the start. Hopefully, if we get shrinkage of this bastard it will relieve pressure on the nerve and I will be able to talk again. If not, I have to kiss goodbye my multi million dollar singing contract. Damn.

I was relieved somewhat. Relieved that I don’t have laryngeal cancer and relieved that my life expectancy hasn’t taken a massive hit.

So that’s the state of play. We had a fear and it didn’t pan out. That’s a good, bloody good thing.

But I now have another battle within a battle. The hill keeps getting steeper and I’ll just keep on walking up it. I fear Irinotecan. I fear what it does to me and who it makes me become and what it makes me feel. But I’m aware of it. Although I was aware last time and that didn’t help. It’s just another bloody hurdle.

Like I said, Cancer is a prick of a disease. Thank Christ I don’t have it.