Just a day or two after the results of the tests were given, so the appointments started. Have to say it can be quite overwhelming for someone who is not familiar with hospitals and travelling around London. Thankfully I have quite a good knowledge of the hospitals and getting to them due to my own ridiculous health, so this was not going to be a problem. None the less, the sheer number of appointments tha suddenly pop up is hard to comprehend until you are trying to schedule them.
Within days you are looking at blood tests, scans, X-rays, biopsies as well as oncology to decide treatments, doses, follow ups etc.
It's quite strange that as I'm looking back through the entries of the past 3 years I realise how much of this I have forgotten about, or at least put to te back of my mind. It really has been quite and epic journey to date, and I would do it all again in an instant if someone I cared about fell ill.
So the first day of proper appointments was Thur 6th March. This day was investigations day really, with a whole series of bloods being taken, and various other tests, mainly to check her overall well being. This was to assist their decision for medicating her. The other side of things was to have X-rays to make sure they knew what area they were dealing with. One of the important things to realise at this stage is cancer is a nasty little bugger, and can get all over the place. So actually seeing signs of it in one part of the body, does not mean that is the only place it has crept into. Because of the nature of the beast it is important to make sure all other areas of the body are clear of it, before putting the body through the process of chemo or any other treatments.
The way these tests are done is all very swift, with no scope for discussing the results at this stage. It is simple fact gathering for the specialist. So as frustrating as it is, rooms are entered and left quickly, with nothing being said between the parties. I must admit that it seems to work better this way for one simple reason... Information overload. Having just taken on board what was said by the consultants, it would be impossible to just a few days later start digesting a load more medical talk, and put it all into context.
The only thing you do start to notice when spending a lot of time in a hospital is just how busy they are. Dumb thing to say I know, but when you just spend 30 mins in a hospital you don't really take on board how much is actually going on in there. Then suddenly you spend a few hours in various departments and really start to appreciate everything that is going on, and how one simple thing can bring a department or indeed the whole hospital to a standstill. On our first big appointment day we were scuppered twice. Once in the blood test clinic when a small child passed out, and the second was an influx of blue light patients, calling certain doctors and specialists away from their clinics to attend to emergencies.
At this stage in the journey two things were frustrating me. Firstly the lack of emotion to the whole matter, I still seemed very detatched from it all. Was really not giving the whole "mum is dying" thing much thought. To be fair this is pretty normal for me to remain detached from a situation like this. Was not sure I would with it being mum and all, but early days this was certainly the case. The other frustration was my own health. Having only has surgery at the beginning of the year for release of the tendon in my elbow, I was still in a fair bit of pain to say the least. while you try and put this to the back of your mind, it is not always so easy. And sitting in the same hospital, one floor up from the clinic YOU attend, is really quite annoying to say the least.
Going back to the day, the one thing that is noticeable is the flow and frequency of appointments. Having only converted to a Blackberry a short whle beforei have to give it credit, and admit it made life so much easier for me, being able to keep tabs on what was happening on any given day, which department to go to and their contact details. Invaluable to say the least.
So after much prodding and poking, Day 1 of tests was over. The next was scheduled for the following week, and this was the much dreaded CT scan. Mum was not looking forwards to this as she said if there was more cancer, she didn't want to know about it. Easy to sayand just turn away from, but better the devil you know etc.......