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Scan results, and the amazing power of tiny pills.


Today I got my latest scan results. It was a complicated morning. I had agreed that the BBC (represented by a very nice person called Andrew) would film the consultation, so that it might be used in the short film I am making with them about cancer, writing and life. But I was dreading it all a bit, incase it all got too emotional,and this morning I felt quite frail.

We met at the hospital at 9.30, and Bev ,my partner, joined us there. She’s been overworked lately, trying to finish the building work on our house. Cancer puts pressure on everyone in a family. She wants to get the new room ready before the summer ends, so that we can start lying about in it and enjoying ourselves, but at the moment home is one long list of Things To Do, and she takes the strain. Sometimes I think we should just go and live in a hotel!

It was a very busy clinic, with an ambience of delay. Also a nurse announced that there would be strange thumping and drilling sounds, and that we were not to worry. Then another nurse told me very sweetly that my results were mislaid, so we would have to wait while they found them. So we sat with the strange thumping sound, sipping our tea from plastic cups. Bev and I had prepared ourselves for a morning of gloom. My test results are rarely good, but I was determined to be philosophical, and quite prepared to be told it was time for more chemo. In fact that’s what I expected.

But then the drilling stopped, and we were ushered into a quiet sunny room, and my consultant Mark came in, miraculously carrying the results, and told us that the cancer in my liver has shrunk, and that all the other things had stabilized! Tamoxifen, that radiant and clever pill, was working! Or perhaps it’s not the tamoxifen, perhaps its all the healers out there, or the poetry I have been writing. Or wouldn’t it be wierd if it was something simple, like blueberries?

So I don’t have to have chemotherapy yet, and I have another three months grace before the next scan. I said to Mark how strange it all was, the way my body looks as if its on the verge of collapse, and then rejuvenates itself, because this has happened over and over again. Of course he said it was all to do with drugs, even though Tamoxifen doesn’t usually work very well on liver spread.

It was a nice moment to film….a happy cancer consultation, Bev and I cheering, and Mark grinning.

Afterwards I went down to Live Theatre and spent the day working on scenes from The Taxi Driver’s Daughter, and doing some last minute writing. Tonight we present the work we’ve been doing to an audience. I have really enjoyed being in the theatre again. It’s all so busy and buzzy, and so different to the world of writing novels. I get wildly excited too. I love watching actors developing characters, and playing with the nuances of language.

So it’s been a happy day. I’ve been let off, and I can forget about things for a bit. Thankyou, everyone, for your good wishes, for I am sure they have helped.