An oncologist phones...

1 minute read time.

An oncologist phones...

After waiting four weeks I chase up my next follow up appointment just because I'm impatient like that. Everyone I speak to is the kindest and most helpful that they can be even though i am sure that they are thinking – just wait, ffs. Eventually I speak to someone who tells me when the appointment is and reorganises it for me as I will be away then.

Its a telephone appointment and when the oncologist phones he is on time, friendly and chatty. He runs through everything and explains that my oncotype score was 14/100 so chemotherapy is not recommended. Huge relief. He explains about radiotherapy and hormone treatment and the side effects that I can expect – or, probably, shouldn't expect but might experience. He also explains how the 'three weeks of radiotherapy down to five days' regime came about and how it is very much evidence based. I am pleased not to be treated as if I am 'just a patient'. Which, of course, I am but you know what I mean. He also explains something that I had sort of worked out for myself – that all this is just extra. Surgery was what made me cancer free and the radiotherapy, the hormone blockers etc are not critical. If it turns out that I really can't tolerate them then I can stop – they add some percentage points in terms of non-recurrence but nothing major. They aren't a cure because I am already cured. Early detection and quick surgical intervention is what works.

The following day is my face to face CT scan pre radiotherapy appointment. Everything that was explained in the booklet that I received is explained again. I am measured and wired and scanned. The radiographer tattoos four dots – more 'sharp scratches' - and I am done. As the letter said, 30 minutes.

On the way home we buy a Chinese takeaway to celebrate the fact that I don't need chemo and the following morning we both wake up with Covid. Great. Since my radiotherapy starts in eleven days time there is just time to recover.