16 december 2019






school photos







           All original writing



2014, 2015, 2016,

2017, 2018, 2019

Ian McLauchlin


Late August 2018. Ok let's cut to the chase. As I and they suspected, it's cancer.

Cate drove me again. Woke up this morning with the good ear blocked with wax which was probably an omen. Took 10 minutes out of a tight 'cups-of-tea and making-breakfast' schedule to put olive oil in ear. Finally managed to hear the familiar strains of "Oh Popeye, it's dark and yellow in here . . "

No traffic jams on the way in. Someone in the car park kindly donated a ticket with an hour left to go. Another omen?

"3-2-44" "Telephone number" "GP’s Surgery". Muscle memory at work again. Saw a notice which said "Fast track DNA Process". You get to one end of the corridor, roll your tongue round your cheek, stick it out and run like mad past someone holding a swab at tongue height. While waiting, the catheter nurse recognised me, came over and asked whether I'd had a good weekend, which was nice. She also put her hand on my shoulder which was nice too. She didn't invite me to her little room though . .

Here's the chase. As I and they suspected, it's cancer.

Urology Specialist nurse. Long and detailed explanations of various aspects. Leaflets to take home and read etc. So . . . . two scans in the next week or so. CT scan and a bone scan to see whether it's spread. "When did you last have a PSA test?" I think about 10 years ago, "Oh they didn't do one before your biopsy then . . . . Have one after the scans, here's a blood form." Looked quite white, dry, nothing to do with moons and not at all congealed to me.

First, we'll start you on 'the gold standard' treatment but not till after your scans as that may affect the result. Hormone tablets. So I'm about to experience the male version of the women-opause. My periods will stop and the hot flushes will start. If I was in the mood I could harness those and save a bit of energy. "Take the tablets for 30 days and keep taking them till either you or they are finished. During this time you'll have the scans - a dismembered voice will urge you to 'hold your breath' and, if you're lucky, will eventually allow you to 'breathe normally'. If it doesn't and the room goes dark with sparkly random lights, you should consider taking control of the situation and breathe."

So I'm fully prepared, for the first time in my life, to be caring, have empathy for other people and make sure everybody's alright. At this present time in the UK I'm going to have my work cut out. Oh and be prepared to grow my hair long, check, put on make-up and wear high heels, uncheck etc.  Oh and do the cleaning, washing up, and down (the washing machine's on the ground floor), make the meals, do the shopping and generally make sure everything works and happens on time and no-one starves or dies of thirst. And see to the garden, the courtyard and put the bins out. That's OK 'cos I've been doing all that for years.

Why should I feel any different from the way I felt yesterday? Physically no reason. Mentally, because I know a bit more . . . . But not a huge amount has really changed has it. Except I'm still on the escalator when I was hoping to have got off it, and that escalator now seems to stretch quite a long way before it gets there. "Nothing you've done or not done." You can't change it so you've just gotta roll with it.

On the way home we headed for Topsham where we were held up for ages last week in the mother of all traffic jams. There were bunches of flowers tied to lamp posts. So you have to be grateful, don't you  . . .