Thursday, 15 December 2011

Let's do some medical experiments for Christmas

Turns out the mask doesn't look a lot like me. True, he's a handsome devil, but there the resemblance ends. Of course, I'm not made of white plastic mesh, at least not extensively, which may have something to do with that.

It fits though. Boy, does it fit - as I found out as it was used to clamp me to a CT scanner table today: like a glove, if a face-glove is a thing. It is very tight, to the extent that my eyes felt like they were trying to escape backwards into my head, but given that it's designed to stop me moving during radiotherapy and thus hearing things like "aim, fire… shit, missed" from the people aiming the death-ray into my skull, that's good.

Today was a day of scans, one CT (clamped down, quick) and one MRI (claustrophobic and bangy, but weirdly and hypnotically relaxing), but that's OK, I'm going to have to get used to them. They're going to be a routine feature of life from now on, ideally equally routinely followed by the words, "nope, nothing there".

I've also signed up for a clinical trial. It's experimental and there is no way of knowing if it will help me in any way at all. But it's in addition to the gold standard treatment I'll be getting anyway and has no effect on that, and it can only work in the 40% of the population which, like me, has a particular genetic marker, so it would seem churlish not to. Plus, you never know.

The trial is for a vaccine, delivered along with an immune system stimulator, which might be useful in treating glioblastoma. It means quite a few more visits to the Beatson, but I'm planning on spending quite a lot of time up there anyway. It also seems to involve giving quite a lot of blood samples and a number of injections delivered intradermally, which seems to be a method of jabbing one with needles which has been thought through for maximum discomfort. But having various bits of ironmongery shoved into me (usually accompanied by a muttered, "I'm sure there was a vein there" or words to that effect) has become a bit of a fixture of late, so what the hell.

It is going to keep me busy over Christmas, though. I had rather been looking forward to the idea that, after today, I wasn't going to have to go near a hospital until early January. But with this I'm already booked up for much of next week and the week between the holidays. Still, I'm allowed to drink, so the seasonal social whirl will otherwise go as planned.

I'm also going to ask about a red nose or maybe antlers for the orfit. Might as well keep things festive.

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