This blog has always been a diary, first for the self-sufficient smallholding and campsite, then it charted Colin's un-expected heart problems and since January the 'coping with Mantle Cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma' story has unfolded. I've shared details because that's what's happening and maybe someone reading might have to go through the same thing one day and it's always useful to have a bit of information.
Col has now been through six lots of chemotherapy with all the problems and side effects and next we have the final and biggest hurdle to jump over.
A special chemotherapy, 9 days of injections to force the stem cells to overflow from the bone marrow into the blood, stem cell harvest (collection), six days of high dose chemo, recovery, stem cell replacement and more recovery which includes up to 4 weeks in hospital in partial isolation. The aim is for remission for as long as possible - maybe up to 7 years - maybe less. There is a risk with stem cell treatment - 5% of people will have problems, some serious. There is no complete cure for this type of cancer.
So on Thursday it started and we went to Addenbrookes hospital where the stem cells will be collected, over one or two days in July, to have everything explained, see where it will happen and for signing consent forms. Addenbrookes is on the edge of Cambridge and thankfully, now that we are in Ipswich it is easy to get to along the A14 and A11- just under an hour and a half away. Colin made me drive there and back to see how I would cope with the busy road. We used the Park and Ride at Babraham which is not far from Addenbrookes and saved us trying to find a parking place at the hospital. When we go for the actual stem cell collection we will have to be there very early so should be able to park on their multi-storey car park on site. Thankfully all the other treatment can take place in Ipswich.
On Friday he had a CT scan to check there are no other visible problems, he has already had several blood tests and a lung function test, all to make sure he is as well as possible and fit enough to cope with everything that will be thrown at him between now and the end of July.
Monday I will deliver him to hospital for 5 hours for the first thing on the list above - he will be prepared for chemo, the chemo itself and then flushing afterwards.Then the injections will start, (we've learned how to mix up the dose and how to safely inject himself) which will give him flu-like symptoms - lovely!
So on we go, one step at a time towards a recovery - roll on Christmas!