Having been batted back to oncology from urology I fortunately had scheduled review imminent. I told my oncologist about the traumas of the past six months. He was of course aware of my raised PSA. He is a man with a calm and reassuring manner and a voice to match. As expected he added another tablet (bicalutamide) to my list and proposed a two scans so that he can get a better idea of what is happening. The first was a bone scan which I had last week. As before I went in to hospital for an injection of a radioactive tracer then home to drink plenty and let it do its work (gathering in hotspots in the bones). Three hours later it was back for the scan itself. Continue reading “Mildly Radioactive (Again)”
In the past I have mentioned my hypothetical three-legged stool – the three key numbers that I need to keep an eye on. Well two of the three are heading in the right direction and one is drifting a little in the wrong direction. My platelets (the tiny blood cells that help stop bleeding) have been counted. They are at 150 compared to the 10 they had dropped to two years ago, and are knocking on the door of being normal (150+). Great. The next leg, my HbA1c figure (I will explain later) was the lowest it has been for about four years at 46mmol/mol. When I went to the doctors with a cough and came out with diabetes my HbA1c reading was 67. Since then it has been running at an acceptable 45-49 until it went up to the high 60’s when I was on steroids whilst my platelets were being encouraged to climb out of the ditch. So far so good. Continue reading “My three-legged stool 18 months on”
Blood Tests This month I had oncology and haematology appointments only a week apart so I thought it silly to go for two separate blood tests. Off I went to the surgery with two blood test forms and found that the phlebotomist also had one form (from my GP) so she had the challenge of seeing how they differed and whether she could combine them and avoid taking too many gallons of my red stuff. After all, they all wanted a FBC, LFT and U&E (that’s a Full Blood Count, Liver Function Test and Urea and Electrolytes). In addition Oncology, not surprisingly, wanted a PSA figure (I would be worried if they hadn’t asked for that) and my GP wanted a couple of other things. Continue reading “Is there a trend?”
I was reading a sentence on the BBC Website which started “At the time travel company First Bus . . .” and I though ‘wow, they’ve cracked it’. I was a bit disappointed when I carried on reading “At the time travel company First Bus said it faced “unprecedented delays” to services in North Somerset.” I think I needed to take a breath after ‘time’ rather than after ‘bus’! It was a report on how much delays are costing the UK and if there was any time travel it was only in one direction while sat in a jam on a motorway (where time ceases to exist anyway).
Meanwhile back in the world of needles being stuck in my arm I had a blood test last week Continue reading “Do they really mean that (5) and platelets”
When my platelets peaked at 116 (well it was a peak compared to last year’s trough, but not up to the levels of the pre-chemo days) the haematology consultant decided I didn’t need to go into CCHU for a while and that they would instead have me have a blood test every four months which they would follow up with a ‘phone call. I had had a blood test a month ago for my last oncology appointment where I found that my platelet count had drifted down to 83. Would it now have recovered or would it still be dropping? Continue reading “Those darn platelets”
I saw a haematology consultant today and the good news is that my platelet count has continued to rise. It is now 116 which is still below the normal level of 150 plus but is heading in the right direction. If you look at a graph of my platelet scores there is a clear upward trend from the panic inducing level of 10 in September. Continue reading “My platelets are better than yours”
Every so often I feel like I am breaking out in a hot sweat even though there is no actual sweat or perspiration. I notice it mainly on my face and I don’t think anyone else notices it is happening unless I start fanning myself or open the doors and windows. It can happen several times a day and usually lasts just a few minutes. Continue reading “Flushes, Antigens and Platelets”
A friend drew my attention to an article ‘The Data That Turned the World Upside Down’ which talked about the impact of “big data” on the recent US Presidential election and the UK’s EU referendum. (It is quite a long article!). Big data seems to be an aggregation of vast volumes of little bits of data such as posts on Facebook or shopping on Amazon or searches on Google. Continue reading “Big data and little data – elections and platelets”
We are midway between oncology appointments so there is nothing to report on that front other than to mention a Radio 4 programme – Inside Out – that a fellow pc-blogger drew to my attention. It discussed the grey areas in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer – it may be over-diagnosed and over-treated or the opposite (and in particular not identified early enough). It’s a bit like spending money on marketing – you know that half the money is wasted but the trouble is that you don’t know which half. The programme also argued for MRI scans before prostate biopsies so that they could be targeted better. Interestingly it mentioned prostatectomies and radiotherapy as treatments but nothing about chemotherapy.
However I can report progress on a different front – I saw a Haematology consultant on Monday. Continue reading “Platelet mysteries”
It is often (incorrectly) claimed that a healthy dog has a wet nose (or vice versa). If that were true and I was a dog I would be regarded as being healthy! Since March I have had a slightly damp nose. Not sure why – it’s not listed among the many side effects of Docetaxel or of Triptorelin, so it’s a bit of a mystery. Continue reading “Animal health and blood numbers”