“Satisfactory” cause for celebration

Dear Friends,

Whoopety-doopety-dooo-daaa-day! I thought I would share my good news and celebratory mood with you after getting the results of my six month follow-up scan. It seems that, although it may sound like a disappointing result if it were an OFSTED report, or a School Report, or a performance appraisal at work, but, being told by my neuro-oncology consultant that my brain is “entirely satisfactory” and that it is “as good as we can hope for given that some one has been digging around in there” makes me feel like I am top of the class. It is indeed, very good news for me, and although Mum was a tad weepy after my clinic appointment, they were tears of joy, I am sure. It is worth pointing out, that when I sit in the waiting room, waiting for my name to be called in the Neuro Oncology clinic, that I don’t really feel that I totally fit in. Some of my brain cancer siblings are not doing as well as me, and they sit there with visible symptoms, as well as the telltale craniotomy scar. I meanwhile, am without a walking stick, without tremors, or any physical signs. My hair is looking good, even if I say so myself, with my comb-over growing nicely, so that my baldy patch on my right temporal region, is well covered, unless the wind blows, that is. So, fantastic news for me, as life goes on, which is so well sung by Noah and the Whale, and my musical friends Greg and Alex.

 It has been an emotional couple of weeks. The anticipation of scan results, and what that means for my day-to-day living, and then the joy and highs of good news. I can liken it to a dragged out version of buying a lottery ticket, waiting for the draw, and then finding out that you have luck on your side. Obviously, I have to thank the clever scientists and clinicians involved in my treatment, those who developed the neurosurgical techniques, the institute of Neurosurgery at Glasgow, those clever caring frying physicists who sorted out the physics stuff to fry my brain, and those clever academics in the Chemistry Department at Aston University in Birmingham, who first made the chemotherapy drug Temozolimide, that I took for almost eight months, and to the pharmaceutical company which developed it, and realised it worked in glioblastoma. I am grateful that they invested in developing a drug in this rare cancer, which is notoriously difficult to treat. I am very grateful to each an every person who has been involved in every step of getting me here, still on my feet, still walking, still unaided.

Soon I will be gently testing my physical function further. I am off on a skiing holiday to the French Alps, with family and friends. The skiing trip started off as the launch of my celebrations of my 40th birthday, which I have decided to celebrate all year. We have grown into a possie of twenty-plus of family and friends, sledgers, skiers and boarders. We are called FAFS (Friends And Family Ski) 2012, and to be totally honest, organising a herd of friends and family, spanning three generations, with our youngest member being eleven months old, and our eldest being in their sixties, has meant that there have been a variety of requirements. I think “faff” is a polite way to say it! We are booked, and ready, and counting down the sleeps before we go. I have, however, decided not to change careers and be a travel agent full time. I will stick to my career in pharmaceutical drug development.

Spring has sprung here, I heard a woodpecker giving himself a headache this morning, as he drilled into a nearby tree, preparing a new nursery for the 2012 generation of woodpeckers, and yesterday, on the way in to work, my driver, oh no, that sounds far too posh, I mean my friend who was giving me a lift to work, pointed out a hare strutting his harey stuff in the Hertforshire countryside. I continue to enjoy simple pleasures. The snowdrops, hyacinths and daff’s are out, the skies have been (intermittently) blue and the sun has been shining. The days are getting longer. I had better get down the allotment.

Life goes on, with me able to look ahead with increased confidence, and with the sun on my back. I am off to a couple of weddings of friends and family in the coming months, which has meant that I have been given a couple of opportunities: I was fortunate to be part of the purchase of my cousin Neil’s kilt buying trip to Edinburgh, where we also snuck in a trip to Murrayfield to watch Scotland get beaten by France with family and friends; I have also been asked to do a reading, of my choosing, at my friend Clare’s wedding. Fortunately for her, she gets married before Easter, so my Lent swearing abstinence will be ongoing, and I will try not to inadvertently lapse on her big day.

Life goes on, with me planning for the next wave of awareness and fundraising events. I say “planning” and I should say “training” but that would be a bit of a fib, training is something that is more a “concept” than a reality at the moment. I am thinking about it, but I do need to get out on the road and get some miles under my belt, otherwise the half marathon at the start of May, and the full marathon at the end of May are going to be more painful than brain surgery. I think that the White Peak Half is full now, but we still want participants to join the RelayGB, and why not try and Triathlon in June? Please let me know if you are joining me on any events as the organisers are unable to provide me with that information, as apparently it is confidential. If you would like to join in a supporting or pic-nicing capacity, that would be lovely too.

White Peaks Half Marathon 19th May, Derbyshire

Relay GB 2012. I am doing the final leg, 24th May, from Romford to Buckingham Palace. There are legs all around the clock, night and day, as this run goes around the UK 4th-24th May. You do not need to be a sub-4 hours marathon runner, really, trust me, I am not a sub-4 hours girl either.

VixTryAgain at Blenheim Triathlon 9-10th June.

Dingle Half Marathon 1st September, which I undertook with my American friends last year. It is stunning.

For your online viewing pleasure:
That genius Stephen Fry is a man after my own heart
The lovely L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N song, do sing along with the chorus
Living, loving and laughing
With big smiles, bone-crunching hugs and wet sloppy kisses
PS Did you know March is National Brain Tumour Awareness month?


3 thoughts on ““Satisfactory” cause for celebration

  1. We are delighted to read in your blog that your latest scan is ‘entirely satisfactory’. That is such good news and we hope that you can now relax and enjoy your skiing holiday. It does not do me any good reading your wonderful blog as I always have tears rolling down my face, so that it is difficult to read. Our youngest son Julian, now 38, did a 4 month stint as a waiter in the hotel at Les Arc 1800 in his gap year in 1992/3. We went out to see him on his 19 birthday so we have driven up the winding road leading to the hotel and seen the hotel there. We took him away for a couple of nights to Annecy, just to give him a change of scenery.
    We are hoping to go and stay with your parents next month, so we will hear all about your ski trip, no doubt.

  2. Hi Vix… you sound like a woman after my own heart.. keep up the good work.. I was diagnosed with a gemisocystic Astrocytoma in April 2005 (I am a parietal lobe girl though.. !) Just wanted to say Hi..I also attend Southern General, Glasgow.. I am hitting a special year as I’m 40 in July.. a huge milestone for me as back in 2005 (aged 32) I was unsure if I would reach it.. positivity is my middle name but I know I was and still am very lucky… I do alot of fundraising myself and try to promote awareness.. Take care and hope your good health continues with a huge dash of happiness thrown in .. Viv x (Vivienne McBeth)..

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