This is the place where time reverses…

Well, it’s been the best part of 2 months since I last updated this blog. And just when you thought this thing was finally dead, here I am clogging up the internet again ;).

And we are approaching Christmas, which was always referred to as some kind of landmark in the treatment process; it was always “[such and such] will happen after Christmas” or “You’ll be able to [whatever] after Christmas”. With this in mind, I’m constantly reminded by my eternally optimistic parents how far I’ve come. And, though I hate to admit it, looking back they do have a point. It’s been nigh on three months since the operation, and I-don’t-know-how many since the start of treatment.

It’s been over a year since the whole saga for me started, way back in October or November last year when I went to the GP with a pain in my leg. I can still remember first stepping into the paediatric cancer ward in Southampton, walking past patients’ doorways and catching glimpses of the hairless, hapless, anonymous occupants inside. I’d seen Cancer Research UK adverts on TV, but now it seemed like I was inside one. It was always one of those things that happens to someone else – I’d always just taken my health for granted.

Then fast forward a month or two, and I was a “veteran”; part of the system, one of those very same people that I’d gaped at before – my energy and enthusiasm gone, as vacant as the expression on my face. The tube coming out of my chest wasn’t alien anymore, it was part of me, and spending 80+ hours attached to a drip stand was normal.

And then came another “landmark” – the operation at Stanmore. I’ve already detailed (in quite graphic fashion) my experiences there in previous posts, but that certainly changed more than just the upper 6 inches of my femur. Being naked isn’t embarrassing, it’s just not having clothes on; defecating is just a bodily function; pain isn’t painful, it’s just the feeling you get when the pain nerve endings are stimulated.

A while ago, as a mock paper for GCSE English, we had to write an essay answer to the question “What is the most important thing you have learnt in your life?”. I did a double take, scoffed, and wrote some cynical answer about learning to walk, because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do the vast majority of things that I could do then. Now I’m pretty skeptical (and an atheist), but karma or something came back and bit me in the arse for that. Well, bit me in the thigh; I have a foot long “shark-bite” scar that I would show off far more often if it didn’t involve being arrested for indecent exposure.

And so now I am learning how to walk again. Regular physio sessions (he is a sadistic bastard) teach me new and painful ways to retrain and rebuild muscles that were cut and stripped from their original places, re-equipping me with the tools that I need to do what I wrote about so sarcastically months before. Of course, the fact that my chemo consultant had some spare drugs left over in the fridge and didn’t want to waste them (psh, I don’t believe that whole “treatment protocol” crap she keeps saying) doesn’t help this process. Chemotherapy works by killing all rapidly dividing cells. Building new muscle requires, you guessed it, rapidly dividing cells. And this was supposed to be a coordinated treatment programme.

I’ve still got a long way to go. Chemo ends around Easter, and it’s only then that I can truly crack on with the physio (oh joy) and learn to walk again. At least I have the summer for that, but it may well take a year or more to get to any form of normality as far as my mobility is concerned. And school in September, which will be a bit of a shock to the system, having had a rather extended summer “holiday” (it will have been 16 months?). “Hit the ground running” is what they usually tell you at the beginning of term. I’ll be lucky if I hit the ground walking, but I guess that’s another matter and I’ll cross that bridge (holding onto the handrails) when I get to it.

However, this hasn’t been some epic struggle undertaken by a heroic boy of 16, faced with the daunting Leviathan of Cancer and left to defeat it single handedly. As if it wasn’t already apparent, it’s been far from it. Aside from the medical support provided by the team at Piam Brown in Southampton, and all the practical stuff my parents and family have had to do, everyone I know has been amazing with the amount of moral support they’ve given me, and I want to genuinely thank everyone who’s supported me in one way or another. There are way too many people to list here, but you know who you are.

Just as an example of this, one of my relatives in America is a teacher at an Elementary school (? or whatever weird school system they have there). Anyway, she got what seems like the whole year group to do me “get well” cards/posters:

Loads of get well cards

And that’s all from (effectively) one person! And that’s without counting all the countless get well cards/messages/visits from friends and family. I really couldn’t have got this far without it all, and you really don’t know how much it means to me.

Anyway, to round off, although on the “Christmas Spirit” scale I am firmly towards the “Bah Humbug!” side of things, I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

14 thoughts on “This is the place where time reverses…

  1. keep posting! for someone with ‘nothing to say’ you said it well.
    thanks for the intro to Flight of the Conchords btw- really funny.

  2. Hey Adam

    Wish we were with you this Christmas…I would show my kids your message but our school is closed down due to a Gastrointestinal virus – ho ho ho(not). I’ll take you for a spin round my school when you visit – but you’ve got to be a RedSox fan to enter my classroom!!

  3. Hi Adam,

    So good to have you blogging again. Funny that your dad should mention Flight of the Conchords. We don’t have a tv/telly so haven’t seen their shows but stumbled upon a radio interview a week or so ago that had me cracking up.

  4. it’s so good to hear from you again. plus, now that I have iGoogle, I can see whenever I open up firefox whether you’ve posted – efficient and useful : )

    FOTC ftw!
    have a lovely day, remember: we are thinking of you.

  5. Ahhh Christmas is around the corner now! (for those who visualise their weekends as corners…I do).
    Do you remember last Christmas when some of us came to your house? That was when Aimee gave me my Harry Potter 4 script! Good times.
    I think that must have been the first time I ever played on the wii because you got it for Christmas didn’t you? and we went to your house a few days after.
    I hope you manage to shift away from the bah humbug and get more towards the happier side of things soon. The smell of Christmas din dins should liven you up!

  6. I do indeed remember. I’m not “bah humbug” in that I’m particularly grumpy (well, depending on who you talk to), it’s just that I don’t skip (metaphorically :P) around singing *Santa Clause is coming…* :P.

    By the way, the title of this post is an obscure song lyric reference, and I’d be impressed if anyone (*except* Jack :P) gets it. **Without** Google :P.

  7. Oh good, you’re back – I have missed your posts! Since I haven’t ‘commented’ before, I would like to tell you belatedly how sorry I was to hear about poor Benji. Two of our cats (Precious and Holly Polly Pom Pom – if I’m going to take any crap for the latter I must refer you to my younger brother…!) met the same fate, and it was so sudden and sad. He sounded like he had a lot of character (kudos for vomiting on Alex’s bed, hahaha!!) and I’m sure you gave him a lovely life. On a happier note, I LOVE the photography and the song. Keep the posts coming & best wishes for 2008! xxxx

  8. Is this a dating site too? Oh Adam, your sister is worth a lot of camels…dont sell her off cheap….stay cool Alex, your time will come, you will meet the RIGHT man…not yet.. Starry eyes… I think he might be just like Freddie in My Fair Lady. I dont want anyone coming here singing On the Street Where You Live…he may sound like a tom cat…I will throw a bucket of cold water at him….Marry Freddie huh!!

    Love you guys.

    Mama Moose. xxxxxxxx

  9. Hey from France! I have net access today on my (evil) laptop. you know what i mean….
    i hope you’re having a good christmas!
    lots of four legged friends and bubbles xxx

  10. Great to see you back Adam. It’s a Festivus miracle (there’s another obscure reference for you. Are you gonna spill the beans on your reference sometime…it’s very hard not to google this thing when I’m sitting at a computer). And next time we meet (sometime soon) we’ll really see whose education system is stranger. Anyways, Merry Christmas, Happy New Years, and enjoy your fruitcakes.

  11. Hi Adam

    Lovely to read your blog – you’re a true inspiration.

    Just thought we’d let you know your ‘seat’ has been buffed and polished within an inch of its life, ready for your return!

    C u soon, take care.

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