For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts, you can skip this first paragraph.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 49 years old and I recently had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gives me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I'm now on a program of active monitoring. I've no symptoms and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?
So today was scan day. I remember reading about when the MRI scanner was invented and how it nearly made Thorn EMI bankrupt. I never dreamed I'd be stuck in one finding out exactly how bad my cancer actually is. How ironic that my dyslexia nearly thwarted me having the scan. I like to leave loads of time. The scan was at 11am and I had to drop my son off at a friends while I had the scan. So I left at 10.30, dropped off the boy, drove to Edgware Hospital and then realised I'd forgotton the letter. Still loads of time, so I nipped home, picked up the letter and went back and parked. I looked at the letter to see where the department was and to my horror, discovered that my dyslexic brain had managed to transform Barnet hospital into Edgware. Don't ask how, I don't know. Now I was late. So I jumped in the car and did a fine impersonation of Starsky and Hutch (while sticking to the speed limit officer, honest). I arrived 10 minutes late. Then I couldn't find the MRI centre, I wandered aimlessly around, until my phone rang. It was the lady from the MRI centre. She tried to guide me into the centre "Look for the sign saying...... " she said. At times of stress, my dyslexia seems to get worse, I couldn't read a bloody a thing. The departments seemed to not exist. Her instructions became more confusing and none of the signs pointed in the right direction. Eventually I figured out where it was, by now 25 minutes late. I came in and handed her the letter.
She seemed surprised, it was clear she was not expecting my adonis like figure, having tried to guide a bumbling buffoon all of 100 yards. She clearly couldn't equate the idiot on the phone with the fine figure of manhood before her eyes. I bluffed "The signage around here is a bit dodgy" She explained that the MRI section is a part of another department.
I disrobed and got stuck in the MRI machine. About 10% of people are freaked out by the noise and the claustrophobia. It makes a terrible racket and is a tube only slightly smaller than you are. You are in it for twenty five minutes on average. This was where being a punk rock enthusiast served me well. Years of tiny clubs, with loud discordant rythmic noises made me feel right at home. Sometimes there were two or three of them at once, cutting in and out, Grung, grung, grung, dick, dick, dick, grunge, dick, grung dick the machine went at ear splitting volume. To make it more pleasant you get headphones playing Sibelius. I preferred the Grung, Grung, Grung, dick, dick noises. As it went on I mentally floated away to another place, the land between being awake and asleep. I stirred and almost pressed the panic alarm. At the end the lady asked if I was OK "Yeah, fine". As I got out a teenage girl was going in with her mum. They both looked worried. I tried to be reassuring "It's ok, it isn't too bad apart from the noise". Her mum said "I freaked out in one and I think I've scared her" I hope it went ok for her.
When it was finished, I went for a sauna and jacuzzi to chill out. I meditated in 100 degrees on the irony of my dyslexia interfering with my cancer treatment. I very rarely these days have this complete attack of word blindness, but today was pretty special. I felt like a complete idiot. In truth for a few seconds, I felt completely defeated and like just lying down on the floor crying, as I spoke to the lady and couldn't process her instructions. By the time I found her, I was 100% back to being myself. I have not felt so useless and self conscious for years, but I guess that is the effect stress has. By the time the procedure was over, I was fine. I phoned a couple of people and I doubt they had the slightest clue that I'd nearly lost it completely 45 minutes before.
I don't know if it is a sign of the cuts, but there used to be a front desk where someone sat who told you where to go. There always seemed to be a confused old lady, being helped to find her appointment at it. I guess in Camerons world of cuts, confused old ladies and dyslexic cancer stricken bloggers, just have to look after themselves as best they can.
Have a good Saturday night. I'm off for a couple of beers. I need them