And not forgetting Bernard…

It’s a very strange world we’re living in right now, for everyone of course, and no less for us. My wife Julie is of course being shielded, being on immunotherapy, which she is putting up with, just, but it’s obviously extremely frustrating for her to be shut in again after having effectively been confined to the house for several months with her treatment, especially as she is getting better, slowly, and was beginning to be able to go further afield with the dogs. Meanwhile our daughter is ‘on furlow’ from her pub job, and is being even more helpful than usual around the house, while our godson who lives with us works at the coop mini supermarket up the road, which puts him in the front line, but he’s being extra super careful, and to be honest has been wearing gloves there since Julie was diagnosed anyway. I am not working there at the moment – fortuitously I was on two weeks’ holiday when the virus got serious, and the hospital has told me not to go back until this is all over. Unfortunately I don’t qualify for coronavirus stay-at-home wages as I haven’t actually started treatment on Bernard yet, as I’m calling the bowel cancer, which is a little unfair as I’m being told not to go to work because of the virus, but I guess there has to be a cut off somewhere. So I will have to take a combination of holiday, unpaid absence and sick pay once I actually do start treatment. Fortunately, a couple of months ago I was contacted by a Chinese company I did some scripts for two years ago to work on the second season of that show, and on another show of theirs, so I’m actually back to full time script writing, which will ease the pain of losing the day job wages. Those who believe in these kind of things might cite this fortuity as the proof of the existence of God, but I just count it as a very very lucky coincidence.

When treatment will start though is anyone’s guess, and I’m a bit concerned that it will be deemed postponable, but there’s been nothing said yet, so I’m keeping everything crossed. To recap, the initial MRI showed a lump in the bowel, and areas of concern on the liver and the back of the mouth. A PET-CT scan ruled out the liver, thankfully, but found a lump on one of the adrenal glands, which may or may not be benign. The ENT consultant couldn’t see or feel anything in the mouth or throat, and nor could the Radiologist who did an ultrasound scan on it – he said the lymphs looked nice and healthy – but they did a biopsy anyway, for which we should get the results this week. Meanwhile I have a meeting with a Urology consultant at Southmead Hospital on Wednesday, presumably about the adrenal gland, at which hopefully we will find out more about what the plan is. Obviously I’m hoping that the biopsy will be negative, and it will just be a case of surgery on the bowel and adrenal gland, without any need for chemotherapy, but there may have to be some. Watch this space!

The dog walking and associated photo taking has now had to be restricted to the fields in front of and behind us, as my usual Riverside Walk has become a lot more popular, making it very difficult and very stressful to keep a safe distance from other people, many of whom don’t seem concerned about social distancing. I can still see the river from the field though, and the woods, I just can’t walk through them. But, it’s only for three weeks, hopefully, and then people will go back to their usual walks, runs and cycle rides. I do have another blog to do about my last photo walks down there, which will be next.

So, that’s pretty much where we are – I hope you’re all keeping safe and well.

Love to all,

Alastair xx


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