I Saw Hercule

I have a new friend

I have a new friend

I had a PET scan during the week. It's one where they inject you with a radioactive substance that seeks out active cells. You lie very still so the only cells doing any real work are cancer cells. They are stupid. They don't know when to shut up.

Once you are injected with the fluid, nobody comes near you. The nurses take a step away from you when you take a step towards them. It's for their own protection. I think they are very brave to even work in such a department.

The lead oncologist (her name is Deirdre O'Mahony) visited me at my bedside soon after the scan and showed me a colour picture of my insides on her phone. She was very happy. My lungs, my heart, my liver and all that other gooey stuff you really don't want to know about were all visible in cool, muted colours.

And burning like Iron Man's arc reactor in the centre of my chest, was Hercule. Bright, fierce and orange/yellow.

He looked fearsome.

But he is contained.

The battleground has not moved in my favour (any battleground that is inside you isn't in your favour), but Hercule looks like he is cornered.

Losing Things: My Courage

It's 05:31. I'm sitting at my dining room table. I'm home.

I slept very little last night. I am terrified of my own bed. Adrift from the hospital, the nurses and the oncology team, who will watch over me while I sleep?

The port in my chest and the tubing down my right neck vein make me scared of sleeping in my usual position—on my belly. In the hospital, I learned to sleep on my back and slightly upright. You adapt when you have a permanent needle in you. Although the needles are gone now, I found I lacked the courage to lie any other way last night.

Of course, the steroids aren't helping. They keep me awake. They make me anxious. And I'm up to my eyeballs in them still. There's a pond in Cork where the fish have been dying. I think if I took a pee in it, they'd all perk up.

If you'd like to receive a more detailed account of my tussle with Hercule, maybe you'd like to sign up for the Roger v Hercule newsletter here: Roger v Hercule.

Roger Overall