Cancer Fights Back

I left the hospital yesterday in tears. It was a tough day. A tough week, to be honest.

Cancer fought back. The disease in general; not Hercule. We'll talk about him in a minute.

Until now, my stays on the oncology ward have been uplifting. I've seen men walk out of there better than when they came in. I watch from my bed as they shuffle out of the door (nobody leaves with a bounce in their step—the battle is too hard won). Each successful departure makes me hopeful of my own.

This week, I saw cancer fight back.

The first time I met M, he was in the bed I occupied this week. He was alert, chatting. A pleasant man taking his illness in good spirits.

This week was different. His cancer got the upper hand. I watched him deteriorate this week. I saw the broken devastation in his wife's eyes. (I'm crying while I write this.) As I was getting ready to leave, she came over to say how well I looked. But the conversation was mostly video and no audio. The emotion was too much for me. I shut down. Anne had to tell me afterwards what was said.

I might be winning the physical battle, but this week cancer struck a terrible blow to my mental state.

I didn't want to write this.

I didn't want to send this update at all.

But for the first time, I truly know my part in this fight. When cancer gets in to my mind, my job is to push it out. My body is my oncology team's battleground. My mind is where I fight.

Hercule Is Less (But I Don't Know How Much)


"You might get a sensation of wetting yourself," the CAT scanner operator said as she pumped a fluid into my veins. "It's nothing to worry about."

Nothing to worry about?!

I'm lying in upwards of €1.5 million worth of medical equipment and I might wee all over it?

I wonder whether my medical insurance covers that sort of thing?

"It's merely a sensation. Nothing is actually happening," the operator added.

You might want to lead with that bit of information next time, I said—in my head. I dislike confrontation.

The scan during the week was to determine how effective my treatment has been so far. I am scheduled for 6 cycles of chemotherapy. I've just finished cycle 4.

My oncologist is off for the summer. She deserves it. Her locum is still finding his feet. The day after the scan, he was only able to tell me that Hercule is "diminishing".

During or after cycle 6, I shall have a PET scan. Then we'll know the true state of affairs. Either Hercule will have been evicted. Or he'll need more encouragement.

The Wrong Steroids

There are several types of steroids. They include anabolic steroids and corticosteroids.

Anabolic steroids are the Olympic-cheating kind.

I’m not on those. My reputation as a clean athlete is intact.

I'm on corticosteroids.

I could take all the corticosteroids I want, but it would only make me talk faster.

I'll have to do actual work to run faster.

Roger Overall