Got a letter today from the ‘Marsden. It’s a copy of one that they’ve sent to my GP, which I requested as part of the (innovatively named) ‘Copying Letters to Patients’ initiative.
It’s always weird seeing the hospital letters; reading what
someone else has said about you to another third party. The medical parlance can
also be a bit confusing.
The one from Charing Cross last week though was pretty
positive and said that my tumour reduction from chemotherapy represented ‘an
excellent clinical response’.
The ‘Marsden letter was a follow on from that. It said that
I had ‘responded well to primary chemotherapy’ and that there is no lump ‘where
the tumour site was originally’. However, there are some ‘residual abnormal
areas’, so these are the bits that will be chopped out and tested. (Along with
any node tests/surgery that needs to be done)
It did unsettle me a bit seeing it all in writing; reading detailed
information about ‘sentinel node biopsy’ and ‘axillary dissection’ and knowing
that it was all about what they were going to do to me. I found myself getting
a bit teary.
However, more upsetting was when I read the letter to Mr P.
and happened to spot the summation of my case at the start of the letter:
3.3cm mass upper inner right breast
(diagnosed at Ealing Hospital), small breast
Small breast? SMALL
BREAST? Seriously, did that really need to part of my official clinical
diagnosis?! Talk about adding insult to injury.
Anyway, my ‘small breast’ and I are going to the hospital
tomorrow for its pre-op assessment – blood test, ECG etc and to find out more
about what happens next week.
I’m also going to give some extra blood – I’m nice like that
– for a clinical research trial that they’re currently undertaking. It won’t
necessarily benefit me and won’t affect my treatment but if the results do show
up any significant genetic factors, then I think I will get told.
Either way, I think I should help out if I can. It’s vital for them to keep investigating and testing, so that new and even better treatments can be found.
Which is why events like 'Race for Life' are so important - that I know many of you have completed, or are currently training to take part in. All that fundraising will help Cancer Research and others to develop clinical tests and trials like this one.
So well done, all of you. And good luck!