We were back in the Western this week - but for Keith not me. We’re the couple who can tag team motherfucking cancer appointments. I mean really, what happened 2019?!
Keith’s team are amazing and if a bar has been set, it’s sky high.
His Consultant Surgeon, Mr Nixon, is great. Full of positivity but absolutely no bullshit. He scared the life out of us the first time we met but became the greatest reassurance as Keith progressed and eventually got his all clear.
Dr Dev, his Consultant Oncologist, was our superhero during treatment. Swooping in for every chaotic side effect Keith developed: loss of a feeding tube, neutropenic sepsis, a blood clot on the lung.
They’re our experts. They feel like friends. If we could take them for a thank you drink we absolutely would! It’s nice to see them every month and have them really delight in Keith’s health improvements.
Discretion vs honesty
We like Dr Nixon a lot, mostly because of his chirpy but straight-up, no bullshit approach. Within a few minutes of our first appointment he told us that Keith almost certainly had cancer, probably Lymphoma.
But it wasn’t until August and our all-clear meeting that Dr Nixon admitted that he was ‘shitting it’ for us, after that first appointment (his words, not mine!).
When Keith was referred to ENT he had a lump on his neck and horrific back pain. His pain was so severe that we’d ended up in A&E, he was now unable to lie flat and he cried through his biopsy as a result.
It was so bad it prompted Dr Nixon and his colleague to refer him for an emergency CT scan one hour after our appointment. We were met by a Radiologist who managed Keith through the process and waited to read the scan that afternoon.
We didn't know then, that this isn't normal. No one hangs around to read a scan, a fast turn around is days, not minutes.
Whilst Dr Nixon was quick to tell us Keith probably had cancer, he didn’t tell us that when looking at all of the symptoms combined, the entire team believed Keith’s cancer had metastasised into his spine with horribly grave consequences.
He's mentioned it twice since, such is his delight the back pain* was a red herring!
Doctor's have to tell you that you probably have cancer. There’s no point in pretending you don’t. What neither of us understood until this Summer is how much Doctors protect you from the worst case scenario, until it’s confirmed, and how much they invest in your health outcome too.
Thank you, next
So, it was rubbish telling smiling doctors that Keith’s passed on the baton. It somewhat killed their genuine buzzy delight in the visible improvement in him!
They now know us pretty well, they know our humour and couple dynamic, they make their own 'will you ever wear the trousers' jokes! They’ve sat with us in tears, laughed with us, and shared far too much bodily function chat. They’ve been our access to a cure for the entire year. Telling them was even a bit emotional. As if somehow, we’d failed to protect the second chance they’d given us?
But, in our usual macabre way, we thanked them lots for curing 50% of us and all agreed we should waste any insurance payout on a holiday!
*It turned out to be nothing but a muscle spasm with no known cause.