Spring has definitely sprung and there is a feeling of happiness in the air. Our garden is coming to life, greenhouse is looking good and we are as a country taking the first tentative steps out of lockdown. The world is such a different place to where we were 12-14 months ago, we have learnt and lost, and I wonder whether we will ever be the same, or feel the same when with groups of people. I feel sad at the loss of freedom we have endured, the changes in how we live our lives, but I do not feel any sense of loss for the past year. Simon and I have spent all the time together, we have talked, laughed, felt panic, but we have learnt, we are grateful for the small things, for being able to feel the sun on our faces and that both our families have come through this time without loss and relatively unscathed.

Both our families are close, we love meeting and spending time together and this has been a loss, family parties, BBQ’s and coffees in each others homes have been missed but we will welcome the times when we can all get together, and we will. The tentative few steps forward have been taken, the weather has helped this as we have met in gardens, how great this has been, and how great the weather has been to accommodate this new found freedom.

This week was that time again when CT scan results were waited for, from scan to results took four weeks, this was not a hospital delay but was due to timings of hospital appointments (Simons monthly appointments) and scan dates. These result sessions are never easy in the run up. We spent the weeks running up to Tuesday (30/03/21) trying to second guess what we were going to hear, and what the next few months were going to hold. And so we sat waiting in the “virtual” waiting room for our video call. After the usual pleasantries we get onto the news, a mixed bag of news. CEA risen again, now at 86 (normal limits below 5), CT, no new areas of growth (phew) but changes in growth rates of Simons lung mets, lymph nodes in his neck and near his trachea. He has in excess of 10 areas in his lungs now, the biggest being 33mm. This information is about taking down numbers, hearing measurements and finding out how much things have changed and grown.

We talk through the “what next”, we have an amazing relationship with our Oncologist (Dr Sherriff), we know our options going forward are limited, well down to one actually, and we are working with the oncology team to use this at the optimum time, and so a plan was made. Bloods every four weeks, CT end of April/Beginning of May and appointment in 6 weeks. The team were aware that coming out of lockdown they wanted to give us a bit of freedom prior to treatment so we could get away in the van etc. We were happy with this and as usual we arranged for the CT report to be emailed to us.

Getting the CT report is a great help to us, and we usually go back with questions which I did this time, following this we got an email saying that on reflection our Consultant thought we should get Simon back on treatment sooner than the original plan, so we came up with a plan, we have a few trips booked away, and we will continue with those and Simon will go back onto chemo at the beginning of May.

Strangely, this has given us some relief, I know this sounds strange but please bare with me. We have spent months and months between appointments and scans wondering whats happening and when treatment will begin, wanting it to be at the right time. If we waited until Simons had significant symptoms of the cancer then his body would be fighting the cancer and dealing with chemo and it would be harder to manage his health. We are also a lot better with a plan, we know where we are going and what is happening and again we will continue to fight this disease. I haven’t starting singing and so it ain’t over!

We know this treatment is going to be gruelling, he has had it before and found it hard. One of the random side effects is that he will have difficulty with cold things, that is touching, eating and drinking. This will mean Simons relationship with ice cream will have to take a hiatus, this is proving to be an issue for him and much grieving for this delicacy is happening already.

Today marks the start of Bowel Cancer Awareness month, I cannot stress enough if you get any symptoms, or problems then please see your GP, Simon had very few symptoms when he went, and it could save your life.

So, onwards and upwards, we are going to hit the road in the van as soon as we can.