The letter was waiting for me on the door mat when we returned home. From the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. I had an appointment with Mr Grimer, a bone cancer consultant, on Thursday afternoon. That's soon. Very soon.
The weekend and early part of the following week I spent resting as much as possible - I had no choice. I felt so unwell. Terribly tired and with awful pains in my legs and feet. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had built myself up and kept going for the big launch last week - and then Ive come down with a big bump. Resting definitely helped. Plus sleeping as much as possible although not always at night. Ive given up trying to get back into a routine of sleeping through the night and just sleep whenever I can. And not worrying about it.
Thursday afternoon Martin and I arrived at the ROH, a new hospital for us, on time for our appointment at 2.30pm. To find the clinic was already running 2 hours late. Its not really a problem - you just have to accept it, relax and wait. In a way I find it comforting, it means the consultant is doing a thorough job with all his patients and not rushing through them with his eye on the time.
We finally were called in to see Mr Grimer and his specialist nurse at 4.45pm. He was really nice and friendly with a lovely smile which put me at ease straight away. We chatted a bit about my treatment over the past couple of years, my new found 'fame' (Martin had found another article about me in a local free paper in the waiting room) and then he put the recent x-rays of my legs up and things got serious.
In my right femur the tumour is in the bone marrow right in the middle, and it only extends a little bit into the bone so far. So that's ok for the moment.
But in my left femur the tumour extends right into the bone on all sides, in fact in one place there is only a thin piece of bone left. He looked me in the eye and said 'I'm really worried about this'. Now when a consultant says he is worried then you worry too. A lot.
The bone needs supporting - and now. Basically it could break at any moment and that could cause me real problems. A broken femur is pretty serious at the best of times but when its weakened by cancer there is a very real risk it wont heal again. I could end up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. So it needs two rods inserting, one on each side, and then pinning at the top and bottom. He asked his nurse to find out if I could have an MRI scan now - this minute - and if not as urgently as possible. They need a scan to see the whole of the bone all the way round to find out where to pin it.
I'm waiting for a last minute cancellation MRI this week and then the operation will be carried out at Selly Oak Hospital, where I used to work, because they have the specialist kit and surgeons there. And that could be any day after the scan.
This may all sound very depressing but actually it isn't. Mr Grimer spoke of follow up treatment like radio therapy and then an infusion of Zometa, a bone strengthener, regularly afterwards. And keeping a close eye on my right femur.
Like Dr P. he is still treating me with the aim of fighting my cancer - he isn't giving up on me. So Mr G. joins Team Jane and a very welcome addition he is.
I left his clinic quite happy (well as happy as I can be!) and positive still - but with his words of warning ringing in my ears. NO weight bearing on my left leg. AT ALL. I have some elbow crutches to hobble around the house with but if I go out its in a wheelchair only. Basically to rest as much as possible. Which I am doing - it will only be for a week or two and then Ill be back on my feet again. With my bionic leg !
The next day, Friday, I went to my local Hospice for the day. Ive been putting this off for a while now but thought now was the right time to gently introduce myself to it. I had a really nice day - not at all what I was expecting. Each Friday I'll be going there, to the Day Unit. It will be a day when Martin wont need to worry about me at home on my own - and when the staff can make sure I'm resting.
They have computers with internet connections there so next Friday Ive decided I shall be blogging live, from St. Mary's Hospice in Selly Oak !!