Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Going to hospital...

...for my first oncology appointment. Today I went to Edinburgh's Western General Hospital for my first oncology appointment in Scotland. Having questioned and examined me, the doctor was very pleased with how I am going, again expressing amazement when shown the before and after scans.

Although I have been having regular CT scans in Australia over the last twenty months or so, the oncologist said that in the UK, it is usual for such scans to only continue for the first year after (apparently) successful treatment. I will therefore not automatically get more CT scans, but will continue to visit the cancer centre every three months. If either I or my specialist have any reason to be concerned, then I will have another scan or endoscopy. At any stage between appointments, I can also call up if I am concerned and should be able to get a place at the next weekly clinic. The highest risk of relapse is during the first year after treatment with progressively less chance after that (never reaching zero, of course). So while they do not plan to automatically give me more scans, there is a "very low threshold" of evidence at which they will arrange for one.

I was also introduced to some of the support and nursing staff and in particular was directed to the Maggie centre, an information and support centre for cancer patients and their friends and family.
Photo from Blackford Hill, five minutes walk from our apartment. The hospital is on the horizon behind me, obscured by my head. This photo was obviously taken many weeks ago, when it was still possible to walk around outside in light clothes.

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