Diagnosis and Prognosis

My very dear family and friends,

I write with melancholy news, I’m afraid. I think it best not to beat about the bush.

The tumour has spread into two lymph nodes and each lung. My surgeon, Mr Khoubehi, is proposing to operate to remove the kidney and lymph nodes with a provisional date of Tuesday 12 May, the soonest he can do it. Unfortunately, the lymph nodes will require open surgery – they can’t apparently be removed by key-hole. This will mean a much longer recovery time; an estimated five days in hospital, followed by between 6 and 10 weeks at home. Once that period is over, they will scan the lungs again. At that point, they will decide whether to proceed with ‘biotherapy,’ ie massive doses of female hormones. Or… On the plus side, while in the lungs, this remains kidney cancer and is, in theory, very slow growing (as well as resistant to chemo, so at least I’ll keep my golden-grey locks 🙂

Inevitably, I forced Mr Khoubehi to do the strategic prediction, which he was understandably reluctant to do, since every case is different and no-one can tell. He said that in his opinion, I could have as little as six months, or as much as six or seven years. I intend to be one of those people who defies all predictions and  who is around for much longer.

However, I will be living my life henceforth as if I only have six months – ie to the max for as long as I can. I had a lovely day with my friend Richard and then the most beautiful walk with Anna in Battersea Park (I’ll post some pix tomorrow) prior to going to C and W, and intend to have as many more such as possible. Every day after that is a bonus.

Please, all, please do not be downcast on my behalf. I have had a good and lucky life until now. No doubt I will in due course have huge anxieties and regrets concerning Anna and Maddy, but insofar as I can separate myself from them for the moment, please don’t lament for me. As we were leaving C and W, we saw a poor boy, probably about seven years old, obviously extremely ill, being wheeled in, white as a sheet and his head lolling helplessly. Compared with him, I’ve had all the luck in the world.

What I would love to do is to see as many of you as is possible over the next few months and enjoy some time (and laughs) together. It’s probably best to contact me by email for the moment, if you don’t mind. But I would love to see everyone in due course.

That’s all for now, folks. Please stay positive and strong for me.

Lots of love, Bart xx

4 thoughts on “Diagnosis and Prognosis”

  1. Dear Bart,

    Not the news we hoped for, but you’ve taken it just as you should: with lots of perspective provided by other people around you –– the loved ones you want to be with, the friends you encourage not to lament but to provide you with laughs, and a little boy who will probably not have the good fortune you’ve enjoyed for most of six decades.

    I don’t know how others might feel about this, but I for one hope you might continue with the blog, albeit less frequently. You shouldn’t have to waste a lot of time keeping everyone else informed about everything, but we’ll want to know how you are generally, and we’ll wish to share in the joys and triumphs you are going to have as you battle this thing.

    I know you’re surrounded by excellent friends who are much more closely bound up in your life than I am, but if there is ever anything I can do that would be of any help, don’t think twice.

    And I think you should consider how you can continue the work on your book about Palestine.

    Yours as ever,

    Jim

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  2. Sorry to be reading this Bart, but have no doubt your stubbornness and strength will give it a good run for its money. Would be nice to see you soon for more dating app related banter.

    Gemma x

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  3. Lots of love, positive thoughts and warm wishes from J and me. Hope you enjoy the CDs and poems! See you very soon… xxx (PS Love to Anna and Maddy xx)

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