Saturday 13 June: a day to forget

I don’t often blog the bad stuff because life is generally too short to dwell on the things that make you unhappy but I’m putting this down in writing because it will probably help my thought process and help me work out what I feel about it all.

I’d been in the office catching up on a few things (never a great start to a Saturday in itself) but time had got away from me and I decided I needed to get my finger out. I had to pop up the town and have an argument with a shop about returning something. Despite what those of you who’ve met me might think, I’m not a great one for confrontation and I try to shy away from arguments. Anyway, it was of my own making, so I did what I could to sort it out. On the way back I decided to give my parents a call and catch up with them. They’d been away on holiday to some remote island off the coast of mainland Scotland and I heard a well told tale from my wife about an accident my Mum had been involved in. It involved a bull in a field, some rocks, some blood and a couple of German tourists. Obviously I wanted to make sure mum was okay but since it was my Dad who picked up, I thought I could talk to him about it.

After a couple of minutes chatting I asked him about the One Foot in the Grave style incident but he said I has better actually talk to my mum about something else a little more serious. I assumed it was about the ongoing is it/isn’t saga of the osteoporosis that mum might have. She’s been diagnosed with three collapsed vertebrae, and very weak bones that suggested osteoporosis, but had had an inconclusive bone density scan, and was awaiting the results of some blood tests.

The good news was it wasn’t osteoporosis- removing the risk of a future confined to a motorised wheelchair and day time telly. The bad news however was a little more shocking and featured the C word. Bone Cancer. We’ve lived with cancer in the family for a long time now, it’s almost 30 years since dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma has a very high mortality rate in the first 5 years but if you make it past that you can usually manage it. The old fella is still here, so that’s good. Reading the literature that the doctors gave mum about myeloma (a cancer of the bone marrow), it was confusing. The first three pages were all very positive about different sorts of treatment, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, stem cell therapy, and so on but the final paragraph on the final page mentioned in an almost through away manner than around half of patients will live 3-5 years. What? Ouch. Digging deeper, it seems that 15-19% of patients will live for at least 10 years. Excuse me but that’s crap. Little Ned, 3 at the moment, is unlikely to make it to ten years old with both his Nanas alive.

I’ve had such an impossibly busy week at work it’s not true- I hit my productivity target for the week on Wednesday and it’s not slowed down, so I’ve not really had time to digest it all.

Mum’s only 70 odd years old, her parents lived into their late 80’s and 90’s. She was so excited about having grandchildren and absolutely dotes on our three. I fully expected to have her leading them astray and watching them grow up into adults, maybe attend a wedding or two and even hang on in there to see her great grandchildren.

But mum has been given a death sentence and it’s not fair. I just want my mummy.