Tomorrow it will be two years since I received my diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma (LMS). Reflecting on the time that has passed since then, I can't help but feel very fortunate with the way that things have gone. I'm yet to experience any real symptoms from the cancer itself which is more than I could have hoped for given my initial prognosis. Compared to many, my experience of chemotherapy has been positive: the treatment has delivered real benefit by controlling the growth of my tumours and I've had relatively mild side effects. After twenty one rounds of chemotherapy I'm still relatively well.
Another positive is that during the two years that I've been ill there have been some advances in the treatment of LMS. One new drug is now accepted by many oncologists as a useful treatment for people with late stage LMS and there are several other innovative drugs currently being researched. A cure is still a long way off but at least there is tentative progress.
It's always easy to find things to be critical about but I've generally been very satisfied with the treatment I've received from the National Health Service. The drug that I've been treated with for the last twelve months would not be available to me if I was being treated under the US health care system and yet it is available freely here. I'm pretty sure that this drug is the reason I'm able to write this blog tonight. I've found the NHS staff to be both caring and good humoured and I can't fault the decisions that my oncologist has made with Katie and I about my treatment.
Looking forward, the future is just as uncertain today as it was two years ago, however Katie and I know that we mustn't let this stop us from making plans. Recently we've started to consider making another trip to Africa. This has been a dream of mine since returning from Zambia in October 2011 but in the last few weeks it has started to look more like a genuine possibility. We've discussed this with my oncologist and cardiologist and they both feel that such a trip is medically possible, we just need to find the right window of opportunity and get some insurance in place and we may find ourselves watching the hippo's from the banks of the Luangwa river once again.