Terror. Ecstasy. Fight. Denial. Flight. Failure. Forgiveness. Reconciliation. Hope. Love. Peace
My frustrations of not receiving a PSMA scan (to inform my advanced cancer treatment) literally, boiled over. With only two possibilities wait (hope) that the Christie produced availability or zero. No possibility for a (UK) scan.
We had an imminent trip to Australia scheduled. I was going to Australia anyway why not have a scan there? It was much less expensive, easy to arrange (and access), plenty of options (locations), availability and credibility. Perfect …ish!
We were going to be staying in Sydney, with our daughter and son in-law. I contacted several Sydney scanning facilities. Sorted. Perri, our daughter is pregnant after a 6 year tumultuous joint effort, as complicated and as bad as it can get but finally they were there. Perri, was concerned about the scan, specifically, the impact of my being injected with radioactive isotope. As a safe guard it is recommended no human contact (especially children and pregnant women) for a period of 48 hours afterwards. Doable.
I re-arranged to the Royal Elizabeth Hospital, Melbourne. Double bubble. We use the Melbourne trip to hook up with my sister and niece. They aren’t pregnant, aren’t planning to be and don’t mind that I might look like the kid from the 80’s Ready-Brek advert (glowing like fuck) on his way to school. Done deal. I get to spend time with my big sis, we get to see Melbourne (bucket list), there is a 96 hour decontamination period. Catch 22. They required a referral from a (my) doctor, consultant in the UK.
Time. We were travelling within weeks. Contact between patients and consultants is not straightforward. Relations between myself and my cancer team were less than perfect. I had no choice. I would make my own, forge my referral documents.
I was, shockingly good at it. Too good. If i had my time again …… alternative career? Job done. Fully accepted. Booked. No deposit. Pay on the day. Results, including universally formatted, Hi-Res copies of all scans available via cloud access (to my UK oncology team) with a DVD hardcopy on the day, along with a full radiologist report one hour after completion of all scans. All for $AU750, literally a fraction of a private UK PSMA scan (without radiologist report).
Talk about efficient?
Anger. Furious. How? Why? Justification.
Satisfaction. Job done. Mission accomplished (Part 1).
PSMA scan Results showed advanced prostate cancer present in what looked to be a lymph node close to the original site of the prostate. A 6mm mass (tumor?) that was considered (by the ozzy radiologist) accessable, seeable and treatable with focused radiotherapy treatment.
Vindication. Hope. I had won the battle now I had to win the war.
Next Fight. SABR – Focused, High-Intensity Proton Beam Radiotherapy (Part 2).
Three weeks later, back in the UK.
Opening four weeks of mail to find an appointment for the Christie Cancer Centre for a PSMA scan. No regrets. Postcode Medicine.
Thanks for reading Hope.