I’m sipping a Virgin Mary in business class while my 3 year old daughter and 73 year old mother slum it downstairs in economy. I’m on my way to Australia to try to get into the only trial in the world for colo-rectal cancer that will have me with my 2 cancers!
The theme tune from the latest Disney blockbuster, Frozen 2, is playing on repeat in my head. Its fast becoming my life motto.
Our journey into the unknown began yesterday morning with a chauffeur driven Mercedes arriving at 10am to pick me up. My dear brother Thomas upgraded my ticket to business class saying that I needed to arrive in Australia well rested. I didn’t put up too much resistance. He also booked airport transfers in a wheelchair. Photos of this humiliation later…
Of course I wasn’t ready at 10am, I was in the shower washing my hair much to the detriment of Liam’s nerves. But this gave my mum time to negotiate with the driver so that all my kids could go in the back of the Merc. The driver confessed to me on the way to the airport that he wouldn’t usually do this but he just couldn’t refuse my beautiful mother!
Liam’s sister Auntie Gill followed in her car with the baggage, Liam and my mum.
So it was a merry convoy.
I have been trying to approach this trip with the mindset that it’s all a bit of a jolly junket, a fun adventure into the unknown.
However when we got to Glasgow airport my positive facade began to crumble. I don’t know when or even whether I’m coming back home. I’m going out to be a guinea pig for dangerous experimental drugs. Clinical trials have a 5% chance of working. If it works I’ll have to stay in Australia and if it doesn’t work I’m really worried that I’ll have deteriorated to the point that I won’t be able to travel back to Scotland.
‘Mum are you crying?!’ Mora was part astonished, part embarrassed and part appalled. My children have never seen me cry.
I whispered to her I was just putting on an act to try and get Indy and my mum upgraded…
I tried to explain to the check in desk that I needed my mother and daughter with me in business class as I was very ill with cancer and occasionally incontinent (this is actually true) but it just made me really upset to have to spell out the precariousness and horror of my situation to a stranger. With my little kids watching the show… anyway it was to no avail as Emirates business class was full.
It was really hard to say goodbye to Liam and the kids. As we approached the point of no return I could feel a dam of terrible sadness inside myself starting to burst. I said my tearful goodbyes as quickly as possible and scuttled through the security barrier with my heart breaking.
Then when my mother and Indy were funnelled down a separate corridor to economy class and I was left on my own I am ashamed to say I went into an uncontrollable meltdown and I spent the first hour of the flight sobbing into my fancy business class seat. Not even free champagne could cheer me up. A very nice air hostess tried to comfort me by giving me a box of tissues and telling me that her mum and her gran had died of cancer. Then they let Indy come and visit me for 5 minutes and that helped. Thank god she is with me because she is just so funny and happy it’s impossible to remain despondent around her. Here she is with her fluffy toy lemur enjoying hanging out in business class.
Everything has happened so quickly that half my friends don’t even know I’ve left the country.
But really it’s got to happen quickly. There are only a handful of places left on the trial. And my pain escalated so much over Christmas that I wondered if I was starting to die. I wasn’t able to sleep. I lost my appetite and I’ve been so bone tired hopping from one leg to another and gyrating my pelvis constantly in an effort to ease the pain.
I’ve always been a bit resistant to popping painkillers and famously gave birth to my son Christy with just two paracetamol. My current pain has crept up on me in the last few weeks and it was my neighbour who is an anaesthetist who sorted me out. He noticed me stooped over in pain and scolded me when i told him the minimal amount of painkillers i was taking. He said there was no need to suffer from pain and advised that I quadruple my pain medication. It’s much more manageable now. And I have morphine for breakthrough pain should I need it.
I’ve travelled 6334 miles and there are 1200 to go. Two hours till I get to Sydney where the city is encircled with bush fires. Out of the frying pan and into the unknown. Insanely I’ve come all this way but I don’t know if I’m going to get onto this trial until they screen me. I will find out in the next week or two and I’ll keep you posted.
Happy new year from 40,000 feet up in the sky...
I’m sipping a Virgin Mary in business class while my 3 year old daughter and 73 year old mother slum it downstairs in economy. I’m on my way to Australia to try to get into the only trial in the world for colo-rectal cancer that …