Page 2 - Matt Carter Story
P. 2

Page 2 of 6
               Matt Carter’s Storey

               2 - Matt Carter's Journey Continues

               This is the second of a four-part series           throughout, making sure I didn't miss any
               sharing my experiences of coping with              tablets and keeping my spirits afloat. I found
               oesophageal cancer. In the first part I            the worst of the side effects to be nausea and
               described events leading up to diagnosis and       fatigue, both manageable with medication
               in this summary, I outline my treatment plan       and sleep. For a day or two after infusions I
               and how it worked out.                             had subtle tingling sensations in my feet,
                                                                  hands, lips and tongue, with bizarre hot
               It was a tough time meeting with the
               oncologist to discuss options which seemed         sensations when touching cold surfaces,
                                                                  although these faded away. Side effects are
               limited and simply daunting. A few weeks
                                                                  inevitable but nothing to be afraid of. The
               after diagnosis, as tests and various meetings
               unravelled, I was eventually offered a place       radiotherapy wasn't too bad either, being
               on a national trial funded by Cancer               more of a trial having to get there five days a
               Research UK called 'NeoScope'. Again, the          week. However, after four weeks of
                                                                  radiotherapy and ten weeks of high-dose
               waiting was the hardest thing, but for me the
                                                                  chemotherapy I was on another planet. It
               decision to go on the trial was an easy one.
               When the chips are down it's time to do            was the toughest time but the end was in
               whatever it takes. The trial involved              sight and I kept telling myself 'I'm beating
               prolonged chemotherapy for eleven weeks            it'. Another survival tactic was to get washed
                                                                  and dressed every morning telling myself
               instead of six on the highest dose I could
                                                                  'look-good-feel-good', which really helped.
               physically cope with. This was coupled with
               high dose radiotherapy overlapping the last        I lost my sense of taste and appetite but,
               five weeks of chemotherapy. With modern            positively, I found eating physically easier
               drugs and targeted radiotherapy being much         as the weeks passed by. Sipping cool water
               safer these days I signed on the bottom line.      felt good. At the end it took 4-6 weeks to
               We all know that chemotherapy is not a             recover, including my various senses, and
               summer picnic but I found the first few            clearly the tumour had shrunk. In fact, I
               weeks surprisingly bearable. Listening             enjoyed a small roast turkey lunch with
               carefully to the advice of nurses helped an        family on Christmas day which I hoped
               awful lot, with the do's and don'ts of it all      might happen. That was truly amazing.
               and knowing I could call my specialist nurse       Further tests were scheduled to see if the
               (ANP) for advice and support.
                                                                  cancer had shrunk or spread, determining
               At first the weekly infusions and daily            whether surgery to remove the tumour was
               tablets felt intense but soon became a             possible or not. Again, a totally nerve-
               routine. I made great friends with a cheerful      wracking time. After rigorous testing I was
               character in the chemotherapy suite who has        told I could elect for surgery if I wanted it.
               a worse cancer than me. That was really            Although exhausted I was determined to do
               sobering, and he's still here today fighting       whatever it took so gladly accepted the offer.
               his corner.
                                                                  In the next part of this series I describe the
               The key to it all is REST, not doing too           operation and my time in hospital.
               much, keeping warm if it's cold, cool if it's
               hot, relaxing as much as possible, being
               distracted with family, friends, TV, films,
               books, puzzles, painting, music, anything to
               be preoccupied. Carefully follow the pill
               plan, always seek advice if unsure and avoid
               people with colds! My wife looked after me

               \\NOV2012\E (Data)\Temp\Temp\Matt Carter Story.docx
               Last Updated on 18Oct2017 by Roger Beaumont
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