(Delayed) month 15 clinical drugs trial

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Tuesday 14th April

Off to Exeter hospital today for a battery of tests that I should have had done last month.

I have Stage 3c malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

A mole on my left foot began causing problems just over two years ago, so I had it removed, complete with skin graft. Following a sentinel node biopsy, I learnt that cancerous cells had spread to my lymph nodes at the top of my leg, so I had a left groin dissection in November 2013, leaving me with lymphoedema in that leg, but wearing a support stocking does help tremendously, although it does look ghastly.

For all of last year I was on the double-blind Combi-Ad clinical drugs trial, by GSK. An adjuvant therapy combining Dabrafenib and Trametinib. Monthly hospital visits, with scans, ECG, heart Echo, eye exams, dermatology, haematology and oncology appointments.

Now that I’ve completed the “drugs” part, I’m being monitored every three months for the next two years, then six-monthly for two more years after that. Today I start with dermatology, then blood and obs ~ my blood pressure was a bit high ~ then a CT scan, and finally a visit to the oncologist.

I did find the day very draining, as our elder son would most often come to the hospital with us, and knew the nurses there very well. So it was quite an emotional time, explaining all that had happened. Really quite rubbish to be truthful. Especially since the last five months or so, we have been totally focused on him, and the testicular cancer attacking his body.

Plus, going through the scan, all I could think of was my son, and how I wish his scan had shown a problem that could/should have been spotted or fixed.

The oncologist had a quick glance at my scan images, and all looks good, apart from maybe a slightly swollen thyroid gland. But I will have to wait for the senior radiographer’s report and results from the blood tests. But he didn’t seem unduly worried.

We drove home mostly in silence. Deep in thought. Thinking. If only….. What if…… Why……

We did stop by the cemetery though, to talk with our son, to let him know how I’d got on today. I know that sounds strange, but we find it comforting, and actually necessary to visit each day. To water the flowers, to touch the simple wooden cross, as if somehow we’re connecting with him.

It really doesn’t seem right. I just wish he was back here with us. Why did his treatment fail him? Will we ever get an answer to that question? Will we be told exactly what went wrong?

We have too many unanswered questions going round and round in our heads. Why, why, why?

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