20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

20th November 2010 – feeling perkier

Patient Advocacy, Survivorship, Treatment
Every year I cast my mind back to this time in 2010. Diagnosed on 26th July that year, I was in hospital from 8th - 26th November, an extended period due to complications.  At that point, I had been keeping my diagnosis within close family and friends and my manager at work.  People at work and my wider list of friends were probably wondering what was going on with me.  Cleary, I let my emotions slip by posting this on Facebook on 20th November 2010. Perhaps this was my way of opening up.  That was 11 days after the surgery, so I guess it took a while to feel almost normal. I had a big surgery! I had some issues along the way. But after 10 days I had got through…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Neuroendocrine Cancer: 48 hours before diagnosis

Humour, Inspiration
I took this photo on the evening of 24th July 2021 in the New Forest I had a liver biopsy on 19th July 2010, and I can tell you now, it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I had a mild anaesthetic, I felt extremely uncomfortable throughout, and I was in pain. In fact, they did call in another nurse to help and her only job was to hold my hand in reassurance. I was not yet diagnosed.  Most patients report no issues with their liver biopsy.  24th July 2010 (Saturday)I was OK for a few days but on the afternoon of 24th July, I started to feel pain in my right shoulder. I normally put up with pain (via regular over the counter stuff) but this got worse throughout…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer Surgery 3: my distant lymph nodes

Neuroendocrine Cancer Surgery 3: my distant lymph nodes

Treatment
"An unusual disposition of tumours"A fairly common disposition of Neuroendocrine Neoplasms is a primary with associated local/regional secondary's (e.g. lymph nodes), and often with liver metastases for late diagnoses. Apart from the primary tumour invading nearby tissue/organs, the most common spread is the lymph nodes, these can take you from a localised Stage 1 to loco-regional Stages 2 and 3. Often the term distant spread infers metastatic disease (stage 4) to the liver, but I had some lymph nodes 'misbehaving' much further away than that. After my first nuclear scan (In-111 Octreoscan) during my diagnostic workup in Jul-Aug 2010, two areas lit up - left axillary nodes (armpit) and left supraclavicular fossa (SCF) nodes (clavicle). However, my MDT remained focussed on my primary and liver metastasis as this was where…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Ga68 PET Scan – a game changer?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Survivorship, Treatment
This is not my personal scan When I was offered my very first Ga68 PET/CT at a 6 monthly surveillance meeting in May 2018, I was both excited and apprehensive. Let me explain below why I had a mix of emotions. You can read about my Ga68 PET experience here. I was diagnosed in 2010 with metastatic NETs clearly showing on CT scan, the staging was confirmed via an Octreotide Scan which in addition pointed out two further deposits above the diaphragm (one of which has since been dealt with). In addition to routine surveillance via CT scan, I had two further Octreotide Scans in 2011 and 2013 following 3 surgeries, these confirmed the surveillance CT findings of the remnant disease. The third scan in 2013 highlighted an additional lesion…
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Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Neuroendocrine Cancer: Fibrosis – an unsolved mystery?

Living with Neuroendocrine Cancer, Treatment
What happened to me?Since I was diagnosed in 2010, I've always known I've had a fibrosis issue in the retroperitoneal area, as it was actually identified on my very first CT Scan, which triggered my diagnosis.  Here's how the radiologist described it - "There is a rind of abnormal tissue surrounding the aorta extending distally from below the renal vessels. This measures up to 15mm in thickness".  He went on to describe that "almost certainly malignant".  The second and third scans would go on to describe as "retroperitoneal fibrosis" and "a plaque-like substance".  Interestingly the fibrosis itself does not appear to 'light up' on nuclear scans indicating it was not cancerous (see below).I really didn't know what to make of this issue at diagnosis, although I did know the aorta…
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