Calm down… it’s only a brain tumour

Another satisfying 43 miles cycled yesterday, and in sunny weather for a change.

The ride offered plenty of time to reflect on the meeting with my new doctor at UCL Hospital, in what they call the ‘brain tumour department’.

And yes, they do answer the phone that way.

I went armed with all my questions, worries and worst expectations. I came away feeling a little, well, embarrassed

You see, whenever I go to see the doctors they give the distinct impression there’s nothing much up with me.

Yes, the tumour is a bad thing, yes it’s in a bad place, but right now it’s not that bad. Let’s not worry too much, shall we?

I guess these guys see people in pretty bad states, pretty frequently. When they see me: fit, healthy and nagging them about whether I can stay on the bike, I’m the least of their worries.

Which is as it should be. When the doctor shows urgency and concern, I really will start to panic.

So, should I keep cycling? Yes, of course you should. There’s this other guy and he does Ironman…

(By the way, however fit you are, someone always seems to know someone fitter. However bloody hard you are, someone seems to know someone harder. Out there there must be this ultra fit, ultra hard human being. With cancer. And no legs. And he has a lot of friends.)

What about the drugs? You can change the dose if you want, change the drug if you’d prefer that. It’s very early days. Go away and think about it some more.

But the tumour is so big! Yes, which means it’s been there a long time. And you only get seizures occasionally on the bike. When you start getting them off the bike, you’re about equal with most people when they first get diagnosed.

What about when the tumour does grow? Oh, we’ll probably do a biopsy a month or two later, something like that.

So no urgency then? This type of tumour is measured in years, not months. Sometimes 15 years.

(My wife takes a note in capital letters: that’s the biggest number I’ve been offered to date).

What about radiotherapy, chemo? (Shakes head) I hope we don’t even need to talk about that for a long, long time.

Shall I go now?

Oh, you’ve already started talking into your dictaphone. I’ll let myself out.

I have another meeting with my oncologist in just under a month. Just enough time to forget the lack of urgency and work myself up again into the perfectly human state of fearing the worst.

Though this time it really could be different.

No, no, hear me out…

The week before I’ll have had the first MRI scan since my original one back in April. It’s the first time anyone will have been able to measure growth or increased blood take up in the tumour.

Do you mind if, over the next few weeks, I do worry just a little bit?

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