Four weeks on and no word on my MRI so I decide to call Mr G’s secretary. Her voicemail informs me she is on maternity leave and says not to leave a message. So I call the main number and ask to be put through to the secretary who is covering for the one on maternity leave and I am put through to a voicemail which explains that the person at that extension is off sick. So I call the main number again and ask to speak to Mr G himself. I get his voicemail. So I leave a message and follow it up with an email. A couple of hours later he responds:
I have written you a letter but essentially the scan shows some residual tumour as we expected. I suspect that some is within the cavernous sinus (the big vein in the middle of the brain). Therefore I have sent your scans and another referral letter to Mr R at Sheffield and hopefully he will now want to see you to discuss gamma knife treatment. If you don’t hear within 3-4 weeks, please let my secretary know and she will chase it up.
Hope you are well
Well the good news is that we now know exactly what Tarquin is. He is a cavernous sinus meningioma. He is an aggressive grade one tumour and is therapeutically challenging. Which means he is located in a vital part of my brain (is there an expendable bit?) and what remains of him is completely inaccessible. He is obviously affecting my vision and has the ability to crimp my carotid artery and we can’t just leave him as he is so Mr G has referred me AGAIN to Sheffield. This means more waiting, more limbo, more uncertainty. We continue to be unable to make any plans but we try to remain upbeat. We succeed about 80% of the time.
Not even Mariah Carey could make a decent song out of ‘All I want for Christmas is gamma knife radiation therapy.’
I really am getting fed up with this whole cancer thing now. I just want to see an end date and there isn’t one. Three to four weeks takes us to Christmas, Christmas will take two weeks out of their schedule, then how long will it take for my appointment? I just want to get back on with my life. Whatever my life looks like after Tarquin I want to turn the page and start a new chapter.
So rather indulgently after reading the email I took myself off to bed with my two cats and pulled the duvet over my head and cried. I should at this point extol the virtues of having cats around you when you are recuperating as they are very soothing and remarkably therapeutic (or just ‘filthy vermin’ if you’re my Mother). Lily and Daisy are great company and cuddle up to me regardless of whether my legs (or head) are shaved or whether or not my makeup is running, and they can always tell when I’m upset. They come and look at me with plaintive eyes as if to say “Why are you crying? Look at me, I’m beyond cute. Stroke me and you’ll feel so much better. No not there, a little lower please. Now how about some prawns?” But there are definite downsides to being half blind and owning cats. Not just that they almost trip me up every time they walk towards me from the right, or that I can’t see the dead mouse/vomit/fur ball until I step in it bare footed. They have an uncanny knack of making me look an idiot. This morning whilst getting ready I was chatting away to Lily as she was curled up on the bed (don’t tell Mum). She was her usual chatty self, i.e. not very, and as I passed I bent to stroke her head, only to find she was in fact Adrian’s grey scarf. Lily looks at me from her vantage point on the window sill with a very disdainful gaze, and then turns her head and continues to watch the snowflakes settle on the garden below. Hopefully by the time the daffodils are out Tarquin will finally be banished and I can start afresh.