30.06.2005 For those who have previously expressed an interest to be kept updated, and for those who have offered unswerving support: So on the 22nd March my consultant in Birmingham said that I had an inoperable tumour, sitting on my back and growing through my ribs and into my chest cavity. He gave me no idea of it's size or severity but said that without succesful intervention it would kill me, "in months not years". As there are (to my knowledge) only three treatment options - Surgery (Which he had discounted), Radiotherapy (Which has been used to the maximum) and Chemotherapy, then Chemo was the only option. The tumour had been picked up on a scan done on the 2nd March, and was described as fast growing and aggressive. So the inevitable delays in determining an appropriate treatment regime probably meant that in the intervening period the tumour had continued to grow, and by the time of my first chemo treatment at the end of April, it would have been bigger than when originally picked up. I was told that the treatment would be reviewed after the second dose of chemo to determine if any success was being achieved. So I went through the first two rounds, feeling fairy crap, but not as crap as I had done with my first chemo treatment in 1997. Nonetheless the total hair loss hurt pshychologically, and I was depressed as I approached the tests that would determine how succesful the treatment had been. There was a real sense that if the news was bad, it was really bad, as it would mean that treatment may be withdrawn, leaving me nowhere to go, other than home to "put my affairs in order". So it was with some trepidation that I had a scan on Friday 17th June, and an out patient appointment at lunchtime the following Wednesday with my consultant. I was told to bring an overnight bag, but also knew that if the tumour remained aggressive and proactive that I could be taking it home on the next train. As those who have read the Dear Diary threads will know, I have a somewhat strained relationship with this particular consultant. Not his fault, maybe not even mine. It's just that his is a tough job, and mine is a tough situation to deal with. So I am delighted to report that he did not say that we were getting nowhere, indeed there was almost (almost) a smile curling around the edge of his mouth as he advised that the scans showed that the tumour was "no bigger" than at the beginninig of March, indeed it was "much the same size" as then. Which in my mind means that it has, in fact, shrunk back from it's maximum size, given the opportunity to grow that prevailed between the beginning of March and the start of the chemo. I put this to him, another wry smile, but not a lot of commitment. "Well in my mind" says I "that's great news, and you must be pleased". "Oh yes" says he "we can afford to be pleased". Metaphoric Andrew Murray style YEEESSSSS!!!! from me, he remains taciturn and not wanting to display false optimism (Quite rightly - leave the euphoria to me!. So it was a walk on cloud 9 to the chemo ward to suffer the indignity of another three days hooked up to my personal poison machine. Home on Friday night and now, a few days later, feeling better, although still peeing stuff that smells INCREDIBLY of metal and stuff. So without getting giddy, I am cautiously optimistic (no more than that) that something can be achieved, and that I can fight the good fight for a bit longer yet.