I used to read a lot of cancer blogs on the internet and many of them ended suddenly. Everything was going fine and then there would be no more posts. I used to wonder what happened to these people. Shake my head and think 'those poor bastards, couldn't even make it to the keyboard before cancer felled them in their tracks'. I now realize people stop writing about cancer well, because it's boring to write about cancer when you don't have it anymore. I'll keep this blog up in case someone stumbles across it and finds it amusing or useful. I'll update it if anything bad happens with my health, but I think I'll move on to new projects. I'm planning on writing a book on quantum physics this summer that's going to be a real page turner.
I had my post treatment scan this week - one month after the end of chemo. I opted for an MRI scan (Mike Resonance Imaging) since I was beginning to be concerned about the number of CT scans I had received. CT scans dump a lot of radiation into you, where MRI doesn't. There are studies showing an increased risk of developing further cancers down the line from too many CT scans, so if the option is there I would go for the MRI, at least for routine monitoring. The drawback with MRI is that it takes longer, and is louder. You have to wear earplugs and there is loud repetitive banging. Having gone through a stage of being really into minimal German techno I didn't mind this too much, but I could see how it could annoy some people.
Anyways, here are two images they took. Look at my head! Amazing. In the top view picture you can see my brain, looking foldy and clever. There is also something heart shaped in the middle. I don't think it's my heart, but it's kind of cute. You're alright brain.
The next one is the important one. It shows my neck in profile, with no lumpy lymph nodes to worry about. It kind of looks like me too, if I was a backup dancer in that Robbie Williams video where he takes all his skin off. God I love that video.
So I've been given the all clear by my doctors. We've decided on a monitoring plan - no more scans unless we're worried about something, such as unexplained lumps or night sweats or weight loss. Blood tests every three months, and keep an eye on my lymph nodes and general health. I still have a lot of issues from the chemo - neuropathy, dried out skin, thinned out hair etc. but considering I went 12 rounds in the ring with that shit I feel pretty good.
I went out for coffee with a friend the other week and she asked me how cancer would change my life. I thought about this for a while. I've read about people who descend into depression after cancer. I've read about people who quit their jobs to reduce stress, people who become vegan and give up alcohol, people who find God and people whose relationships implode. Me? I'm changing nothing. Maybe try to eat more fresh veg and take a few more vacations. But in terms of my friends, my job, my lifestyle, I love all of it. From the very beginning I've understood that Hodgkin's lymphoma is a result of very, very bad luck and is likely not related in anyway to lifestyle choices. So I'll continue to work hard doing a job I enjoy, and to travel like crazy. I'll take ill-advised whitewater canoe trips in bear country. I'll remain ambivalent about bearded sky-wizards. I'll still enjoy good food and good wine with my friends and basically live my life the way I want to. Does that sound arrogant? Probably. But if I change who I am then cancer wins, right?