T + 673 I Felt a Right Tit

Posted by raetsel at Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I was at the clinic today , well actually a double clinic as it was haematology and then endocrinology.

The visit the phlebotomist to take my blood samples was pretty straight forward and she found a good vein, which is just as well as in total I had 14 phials of blood drawn. Six of these were for a research programme I am participating in where they take samples of blood every few months.

I was a bit more apprehensive about this visit than usual because over the last two or three weeks I have had a tenderness and slight swelling on the right side of my chest. Well ok let's not beat about the bush here, my right man boob or moob has been tender and slightly larger than the one on the left. Then I noticed what appeared to be a little lump or to give it the technical name the endocrinologist used a "nubbin".

As you might imagine I was not exactly thrilled to make this discovery but I tried to be rational about it and since I had no other problems I decided to wait the couple of weeks until my clinic appointment to get it checked. It was most likely to be nothing serious and at worst probably a cyst but there was a small voice at the back of my mind saying :"yeah three years ago you thought the lump in your neck was just a cyst and look how well that went."

I considered the possibility of it being my lymphoma returning or a secondary cancer caused by my chemotherapy and I'll talk a little about my reaction to this prospect in a moment but first, in case you are concerned, it turns out that there is nothing to worry about.

When I saw the haematologist and explained what had happened she was not concerned at all. She didn't examine me but just said it was very common in men that have had transplants and they had written up a paper about it. She said it was called "gynecomastia" which in yet another example of a medical term that just states the obvious, is basically Greek for "Lady Boob."

She said to mention it to the endocrinologist as he might want to check some hormone levels and maybe get a scan. Aside from that everything else is going well and we reduced my dose of ciclosporin from 30mg twice a day to 20mg twice a day and arranged an appointment for six weeks. ( At this rate I could be free of the ciclosporin in 3 months time to co-incide nicely with the second anniversary of my transplant.)

After that I saw the endocrinologist and he did examine me and confirmed there was a difference on the right side but said it felt more like normal breast tissue than any sort of cyst or lump. He said it could be caused by a number of things including ciclosporin and a reduction in testosterone or an increase in testosterone. ( Clearly it is the Goldilocks of hormones).

He asked me if I took cannabis to which I was able to say no, never and I asked if that could cause it as well and he said yes quite often. They don't put that on the packet do they? The doctor said he would run some extra tests on a couple of the tubes of blood I'd had drawn and if there was anything in there indicating a hormone imbalance he would be in touch but aside from that I should just check it for any changes once a week ( as opposed to about once an hour which is how often I was checking it ).

That aside my other results were fine and my thyroid levels were good so it looked like I was on the right dose of thyroxine. I made an appointment to see him in three months.

So just to go back to the last couple of weeks and my thought processes. I was surprised to find that my main reaction to the prospect of my cancer having come back was chiefly one of annoyance. The whole process of getting it checked and then treated was just a nuisance especially when I was just getting back to normal with everything. I guess this is a healthy reaction, I'm not really sure.

One of the other reactions was concern for the effect it would have on other people so I resolved not to tell anyone about it until I had seen the doctor today. However after about a week I decided to tell Gareth about it not least as it might help explain my slight moodiness at home. It goes without saying he was very supportive about it. I didn't tell anyone else as they would only worry about it and I was doing enough worrying or at least thinking about it for everyone.

It was a relief when the first doctor said it was quite common though I was also a tad annoyed no-one had mentioned it before. Though if they mentioned every possible side-effect of the drugs I am on it would be a very long and worrying list indeed and for the most part I have had very few side effects. I also felt a bit silly for getting into a bit of a state about it, hence the dual purpose title of the blog post.

T + 660 Thank You

Posted by raetsel at Thursday, July 08, 2010

As before if I have an email address for you then you have probably already seen this.....

I just wanted to write to say thank you to all those of you who bought a copy of my novel and/or donated to my Just Giving site.

I know there are lots of demands on people’s time and money so I really appreciate you making the effort to help the charity Cure Leukaemia.

I’m pleased to report I have to date raise £297.80 thanks to your generosity.

If you wanted to make a donation or buy a novel but haven’t yet got round to it you can still do so via the links below.




Or if you want to make a donation you can just thrust cold hard cash into my hands and I’ll pay it in to the Just Giving site.

Thanks again.

T + 653 Down the Smoke

Posted by raetsel at Thursday, July 01, 2010

It's my Birthday week and in recent years I've started taking the whole week off work and that's not to avoid buying cakes for the office as I will be doing that once I get back in on Monday.

On my birthday itself, Sunday 27th June I kept up another mini-tradition, namely that of taking my Dad to watch the Warwickshire Bears play 20-20 cricket as his Fathers' Day present. This year was slightly different as the only reasonable Sunday game was away to the Notts Outlaws at Trent Bridge.

It was a gorgeous day and we really enjoyed ourselves. The effective use of the Big Screen and the Public Address system at Trent Bridge added a lot to the enjoyment. Unfortunately the Bears lost rather badly. Chasing an achievable 150 the Bears were all out for 117 off the antepenultimate ball. ( It's not many days I get to use the delightful word, "antepenultimate").

On Monday and Tuesday of this week Gareth and I had a little trip away to that London place. Also known as "going down the smoke".

We spent the first afternoon at the Victoria & Albert Museum, a place I have never been before but always wanted to visit. It is a great place but absolutely huge. We just skimmed the surface looking at a few sections; it is one of those places you prolly want to have a specific topic in mind to look at such as jewellery or textiles so you can concentrate on one area. Definitely a place I want to go back to.

We stayed at a very nice hotel near Russell Square called the Bloomsbury Park. The rooms were very nicely decorated and for just over £100 for a room for two so close to the centre of London it was a pretty good deal.

On the evening we went to the Apollo Theatre, Victoria to see the musical "Wicked". This tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz and how she came to be wicked. Or rather how she came to be thought of as wicked. It is a very good show with some great set design and a clever story. The character of Garlinda ( or Glinda as she becomes ) almost steals the show. It is perhaps a trifle long in the first half though it ends with the amazing "Defying Gravity" number, but the second half really zips along and is very dramatic in places.

On Tuesday morning we visited the British Library ( which was in walking distance from the Hotel ) and St Pancras Station. I mainly wanted to go see these for the architecture but there was an excellent exhibition about maps on in the British Library.

For lunch we went to Camden Lock a really vibrant market area with each stall or alcove housing a different set of merchandise and having its own unique smells and sounds ( usually provided by a radio or ghetto blaster playing different kinds of music). We had lunch there over looking the canal, seated on old Scooter seats as you'll see if you look at the pics of the trip below.