New York, Treatment 10 and Charitable Works

In one respect, no news is good news when it comes to this treatment regime. It will be three years since I was diagnosed, next month and it’s over two years since I started my treatment.

It’s all very much a matter of routine, now, of course, but it still takes about 3 1/2 hours start to finish to deliver one 250ml bag of saline and Rituximab. There is a limit to how fast they can let it run into the vein and even though I am well used to it, I still need to have the paracetamol, Piriton and steroid pre-treatment too.

Each time I get the treatment, the haematologist examines the lymph nodes for any signs of recurrence and, fortunately, hasn’t found any to date. Only two more sessions to go now, then they will leave me alone until I get symptomatic again, which, if I’m lucky, will be around 3 or maybe 4 years away. He wants to see me every three months, going forward. Let’s just hope that he can get some assistance with his surgeries, as the last time I had to see him outside of a treatment session, he was an hour and a half behind with his patients. More and more people are benefiting from the haematology services, and Rituximab is being used for conditions other than lymphoma, too, so poor old Ward 60 is very busy indeed.

My specialist nurse, the one who got married on the day that we flew to NY, seems to have had a fantastic wedding and honeymoon if her photographs are anything to go by. If she told me once, she told me six times that she can’t believe that she is married. That’ll wear off!

So, we have been back from NY for about three weeks now. We had a terrific, if tiring time there, having seen most of the sights and walked most of Manhattan over the five days we were there. It was great to meet “the cousins” for the first time. As I posted below, what a really nice bunch of people, with whom we had a great day on Ellis Island.

What an interesting place that is – echoes of the flip-side of Auschwitz, in a way. Places where the intended purposes are polar opposites, of course, but both needing highly efficient systems for processing thousands of people per day. I am glad we went and learned more about what people had to endure on their way to the United States. Our little delay in Immigration was quickly put into perspective.

Highlights of NY apart from meeting the family? Meeting folks from the Leica forum for the first time and joining them up the Empire State Building as the sun went down and the lights of Manhattan came on. The whole city seems to come into focus as dusk settles. Whereas during the day, you are overwhelmed by the scale of all the buildings below you, stretching over the whole island, at dusk and as it gets dark, the lights in windows and cars seem to make the city get closer andy more defined. It was a terrific experience.

The museums are wonderful, of course, and we had a fantastic evening at Warhorse, just off Broadway. Incredible puppetry. The horses really were “alive”, even if the Devonian accents left a lot to be desired! Didn’t spoil the amazing theatre, though. Pity about the $50 for two glasses of wine…

So, now, it’s back into the normal routine, and keeping an eye on the sales of the Leica User Forum Charity Book 2012. So far, we have sold 83 copies, raising £830 for AICR, on top of the £3,850 we have already raised this year. Great stuff.

Following on from this success, I fear that Ward 60 might need some help over the next couple of years to pay for another extension, so I will volunteer my services to the team there, should they need me. It’s always good to pay something back if you can.

So, now it’s Easter and my Mum’s 75th birthday to look forward to, followed by two weeks doing nothing in Scotland in June. Brilliant!