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Thought I’d cut to the chase, rather than continue with the epistle I was writing.

As I mentioned I had been getting some pain in my legs from about 10 weeks ago.
The outside thigh muscles were tight painful and hard as wood.
I got a Thai Masseur to do a deep muscle massage using oil elbows knees and hands, this at the time was the most painful thing I had ever experienced, but I was able to dance that night and the right thigh improved dramatically.
Next week half the session was devoted to the Left hip and half to a Traditional Thai stretching massage, these little Thai women really know how to use leverage, again I was able to dance that night but the left side never fully settled. Developing a bit of a drunken sailor limp I bought a walking stick for occasional use that became more permanent. I stopped taking the anti cholesterol statins, which can cause symmetrical large muscle pain, and it seemed to help.

Being dragged around to the Dr by my wife I had blood tests which showed inflammatory marker increased ESR to 28 when 4-5 is normal, nothing definitive but the ‘statins were not the cause of the original problem. I was sent for an Xray because the limp had caused classic hip pain. A single A-P (front-back) image showed nothing, I was expecting a couple of oblique views also and was told that I had had the Departments protocol for a GP Hip pain referral (that is very important to the eventual diagnosis).
Staff health appointment was made for Friday to see about adjusting work pattern, Physio assessment made for Monday. That was the weekend my wife took me to casualty because of the pain, they reviewed the Xray (clear) and revised the pain relief to something quite substantial.

Work on Monday was at the Diabetic unit, (for those of you who do not know,:I’m a Podiatrist) and I was taken round in a wheelchair as I now used 2 walking sticks. Like everyone else the Physio could find no cohesive pattern, his best guess was slipped 4th Lumbar disk that would normally cause sciatica, regional weakness and numbness/tingling, non of which I had, the lack was possibly due to restricted movement/muscle spasm, but I had normal hip extension with total wasting of the lateral thigh muscles. Review apt. on my return from holiday. GP Apt the night prior to leaving for Tenerife, given 40Mg of prednisilone (steroid) as although the ESR was not high enough for typical PolyMyalgia the diagnosis was not ruled out, the steroids could turn it round in 48 hours if it was.

The holiday I have already posted on, greatly reduced mobility and pain control variable, The last time I was in Spain the pharmaceuticals were un regulated I thought I’d be able to buy Codeine, anti biotics, Diazepam etc over the counter, sadly not any more.

On my return I posted very little on the board but the GP’s promise of a rapid referral to Neurology resulted in my being admitted to Hospital on Wednesday

I personally had come to the conclusion that the Thai Stretching massage had torn a lot of muscles away from the bones and a lot of the pain felt like the anterior ridge of my pelvis was being split into two sheets. But anyway, I was on a medical course of investigation and was just along for the ride.

Lots of blood tests, an Abdominal ultrasound and Lumbar/Sacral MRI scans revealed nothing but a slightly distended aorta, great gall bladders, liver, kidney pancreas etc.
Fine if you wanted a fy up, but not much good for the hip pain.

In discussing the Blood work the Neurologist commented that the Calcium levels were high and that would make me feel poorly and also the Serum acid phosphates were raised. Being taught my physiology back in the 70’s I said “isn’t that what they used to look for when they suspected prostatic cancer metastasising to the low back before they used PSA (prostate specific antigen)? “

“We checked your PSA and it was normal.”

“but it does show an increase in bone metabolism” I added.

I’m sure that you will be pleased to know that my prostate is also normal.

That night I was sent for a Chest Xray and the following day a body MRI scan.

I mentioned nothing to Ann of this at her visit as I had no diagnosis, a pretty good idea, but no point in needless upset.

The next day revealed that I had a large tumour on my left lung that had spread to the pleura and was inoperable, and the scans I was viewing showed a large hand shaped mass of lung tissue in the pelvis (and other smaller areas), where I thought it was being pulled apart was actually being pushed apart.

One worrying aspect was my right femoral neck, the angled narrowing just behind the hip ball joint has a small walnut sized mass almost filling the centre (remember what I said about the Hip pain Xray protocol). I have lost over 5 inches of muscle from my left thigh and the only painless way I can rise to stand is by using this right leg which could snap at any minute.

That night MDW and I met with my new specialist and it was it was very well handled. When I asked the “how long” question he asked what I thought.

My response was along the lines of :”Well, lung cancer never treats well, especially the small cell types, a year at the most, but given the size of this , Six Months?”

The specialist replied “If we were just discovering the primary tumour that would be about right,”
I interrupted “but with the spread maybe about three?”
The lack of an immediate reply led me to guess that I was overly optimistic so I changed tack to “well that’s without any treatment, where do we go from here?”

Friday brought a painful biopsy, and I was let out for a Day on Saturday noon and visited a sporting venue around the corner from our house.

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS

Anyone who can make it to Jesmond cricket club in Newcastle from 7PM to 11pm on the night of 31st October is invited to a Halloween/going away party.

Fancy dress is optional but appreciated. It will be more of a drop in and drink & snack than a fully catered party as I have no how many will come and how many would rather dance on my grave.

My friends from Tango are putting on dancing and a few performances, two of my teachers danced in Flavia & Vincents “Midnight Tango” tours, so they are of top quality. People from the Allotments, work colleagues, friends and family have been invited.

I was going to have a quiet 60th birthday party early in November, I just decided to upscale and advance the date.

People say you should stay in your own home for your final time, but I live in a house with 3 storeys and a cellar, The Ground floor is our podiatry practice and without wrecking the art nuveaux staircase, putting heavy support handles in our newly refurbished bathroom and putting a bed in the TV lounge, managing would be difficult and that’s not my house has been. Catering for visitors would also put extra pressure on MDW.

So I was rather abrupt with visitors, as this was 2 PM on Saturday, got on the internet and found an easy to live in flat in a good location. Phoned up the agent pressured them and arranged a viewing with the owner who still had a sitting tenant, our lease starts on November 1st. A nice modern flat, close to a Metro, easy to live in and keep clean it has two double beds so we can have visitors stay, as well as easily catering to visitors and it will be nice to be able to cook the kids tea when they come after work before going back to our house. Most of all MDW and I will have US time, it will be like a holiday.

Well, that’s about it, Had a chat about Radiotherapy today and scheduled four sessions to reduce the tumour sizes, The pathology reports from the Biopsy come back tomorrow that will determine the chemo- regimen and the Specialists will review this and discus my case with us on Wednesday afternoon.

So by the next time I post, the party will only be a week away and I will be closer to understanding what I’m up against.

As I have the 1,000,000th post in my sights now, If I can beat this I will, even at this late stage in the game.

Love and best wishes to you all,

€z


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