CAT scan

8-Meet Manny the Mask

27th April 2020

It’s my first visit to the Oncology centre in Cheltenham General Hospital.
Around 20 minutes drive from home. It’s good to get out on the road during the lockdown

I’m being fitted with my mask, which will be used for all the radiotherapy sessions. Met in the reception by a very amiable and likeable chap – Liam. He explains the process to me.

And it’s amazing!..

Today’s session is purely mechanical and analytical. Preparing for the treatment. There’s a CAT scanner which today is just being used for measurement analysis (not diagnosis), a steel bed which is the same dimensions as used for the actual radio LINAC treatment and a very special perforated polymer sheet.

The polymer sheet is soaking in warm water and Liam positions me flat on my back, with between a headrest and what I’d describe as a bum stop. So that fixes my line.

The the pliable polymer sheet is places over my head and shoulders and still being pliable, is fixed by clips to the steel bed. So that will be my X and Y position for all future scans.

But now comes the magic – I have to lay perfectly still for around 15 minutes or so. In this time, as the polymer is cooling, it shrinks completely tight against my head and neck. A bit like vacuum forming, but without the vacuum suction.

Now the radiologist team can place marks on the mask, line it with lasers (these can be seen in the photo) so that I’m perfectly positioned and check against this reference scan, throughout the 30 sessions of radiology that I’ll have.

As the mask will be a companion of mine throughout and a close a copy as of me as anyone could see, it needed a name.

So please let me introduce…

Big Manny – the Mask

🙂

 

21-Cold Turkey and a CAT

All in all, I'm happy to report a pretty good month of improvement. All the pain has gone. Well, my pain that is. I'm still a pain to my lovely suffering wife, who has to contend with my regular moans and groans!

Eating has become easier in terms of swallowing, but unfortunately my sense of taste is still minimal, which makes for a less than enjoyable eating experience. A minor issue in the big scheme of things, but a bugger to someone like me who really enjoys his food.

Of course, this has also had some 'upside' in that I've now lost aorund 33kg / 5 stones / 73lb since January of this year. I'm well happy with this - but my NHS dietician not so.

Dropped 3 dress sizes too, from 5xl to xxl. Actually, the photo from this Tuesday shows an xxl shirt - and even that's becoming a bit baggy too 🙂

Cold Turkey

As I mentioned, all the pain has gone now - so I was preparing to ease off the morphine. I must admit, I haven't really needed it for a month or so, but have been quite hooked - being on a pretty high dose since mid-May. Can't say it was bothering me, but better off without it I reckon.

Oh - easier said than done! I mentioned it at last months hospital meeting and they seemed pretty cool about it. 'Just ease off the dose over a while' they said. But perhaps their idea of a 'while' was a few weeks, whereas Wozzers idea was 3 days..

Oh boy oh boy, I really went cold turkey last week. I was a real mess, with the typical junkie runny nose, aching joints and mad dreams. I put up with it for a few days and was tempted to start on the morphine again. I spoke with my GP after 4 days and she said I should be over it in a couple more days - and she was quite correct. By the weekend, I was back to my normal (mad) self, instead of a drug-induced mad self.

But the upside is I'm now drug-free again. Currently no medicines of any kind and hoping to stay that way.

PET/CT Scan

Yesterday I had my first scan post treatment. As they promised for September. It was a CT scan with 'contrast'

It was a full-body scan, one to check on the treatment so far and two, to check if there's any further spread of cancer. This is pretty much the main concern of every cancer patient post-initial treatment.

The procedure itself is painless. It starts with an IV/drip of saline with a mild radioactive drug, which shows areas of the body where cells are more active than normal, indicating the possibility of cancer. This is the 'contrast' bit.

CT (CAT) Scan

A CT scan is a test that uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the inside of the body. It takes pictures from different angles. The computer puts them together to make a 3 dimensional (3D) image.

My medical team will have the scans this week  and will discuss during the next week. I'll have the results good or bad, within a couple of weeks from now. Hopefully in time for our coffee morning zoom video meetings on the 25th September. Which brings me nicely on to updating you with the details...

I'm pretty much ready for the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, on 25th September 2020. I’m hoping to chit chat with friends, colleagues and family around the world – so I’ll be hosting the video ‘meetings’ for 12 hours (7am to 7pm UK time). Please, please join at any time that suits you.

This should allow coffee mornings in the US, coffee afternoons in the UK and Europe and Beer O’Clock for those in the Far East and down under. Hopefully you’ll all fine some time to get online with me – even if only for a few minutes. Donate the cost of a coffee or two and we’ll be eternally grateful. It all counts and all donations are going to a great cause.

 

WIN THIS UNQUE COFFEE MUG

With a thank you note and spersonally signed by Wozzer!

This Macmillan Coffee Morning mug will be posted to the winner anywhere in the world - subject of course to delivery being available. I might even put a stamp on!

All zoom visitors get one entry, and the winner will be picked by an online random generator thingy.

I’m using Zoom Video Meetings for the all-day fundraiser.

It will work on all devices (Windows, Apple, Android etc), it's FREE to use and can be downloaded in advance by clicking here

If you don't download in advance, clicking this MEETING link, should start the download automatically:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73794084522?pwd=TER5amVWN3FVbUdJbVZRNVhyaHBJZz09

Just say yes to the permissions it requests (use audio, video etc) and you’ll be good to go in just a few minutes. If it asks for meeting ID or Passcode they are shown here:
Meeting ID: 737 9408 4522
Passcode: 8cmAGM

Also my Macmillan donations page can be viewed by clicking this text

or this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/warren-garber

If you have any problems on the day, please SMS or WhatsApp to me on +44 770 82 92 274

Finally (for now), please feel free to share this post with anyone you might think would like to join-in.

Hopefully see you some time on the 25th xx

22-Macmillan Coffee Morning (and Beer)

Let me start with an apology!

24 September 2020

When I started planning for the Macmillan Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning, they also set up a donations page which I could use to raise funds for the charity. Alas, for such a large and well-known charity - it appears their fundraising platorm isn't as good as it could be.

It appears it was very difficult for donors (friends / relatives) to leave their name and any note for me. Also, they could only accept payment by a card registered in the UK. Of course, that's not so easy for many of my friends / family around the world.

So it's impossible for me to personally thank anyone that has donated. And for that I sincerely apologise.

The image below shows kind donations from the last week or so. Please feel free to comment if you donated - or send me a private message on facebook or email to wozzer (at) warrengarber (dot) com

Recently received...

Justgiving for Macmillan

I have a new fundraiser page on Justgiving (the funds also go direct to Macmillan) and there are links below -or just click the image. It's ever so easy and you can leave your name and/or a message.

If you haven't already, donating even the cost of a coffee (or two), makes a difference!

So, with this post I'm ready for the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support tomorrow.

I’m hoping to chit chat with friends, colleagues and family around the world – so I’ll be hosting the video ‘meetings’ for 12 hours (7am to 7pm UK time). Please, please join at any time that suits you.

This should allow coffee mornings in the US, coffee afternoons in the UK and Europe and Beer O’Clock for those in the Far East and down under. Hopefully you’ll all fine some time to get online with me – even if only for a few minutes.

Take care and chat soon 🙂

Wozzer

 

WIN THIS UNQUE COFFEE MUG

With a thank you note and spersonally signed by Wozzer!

This Macmillan Coffee Morning mug will be posted to the winner anywhere in the world - subject of course to delivery being available. I might even put a stamp on!

All zoom visitors get one entry, and the winner will be picked by an online random generator thingy.

I’m using Zoom Video Meetings for the all-day fundraiser.

It will work on all devices (Windows, Apple, Android etc), it's FREE to use and can be downloaded in advance by clicking here

If you don't download in advance, clicking this MEETING link, should start the download automatically:
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/73794084522?pwd=TER5amVWN3FVbUdJbVZRNVhyaHBJZz09

Just say yes to the permissions it requests (use audio, video etc) and you’ll be good to go in just a few minutes. If it asks for meeting ID or Passcode they are shown here:
Meeting ID: 737 9408 4522
Passcode: 8cmAGM

Also my Macmillan donations page can be viewed by clicking this text

or this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/warren-garber

If you have any problems on the day, please SMS or WhatsApp to me on +44 770 82 92 274

Finally (for now), please feel free to share this post with anyone you might think would like to join-in.

Hopefully see you some time on the 25th xx