Friday, 16 May 2008

Cancer Chronicles. Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

Yes, contrary to my Consultants' advice I changed my job and dumped Fred. As I was living with him in his flat, this also necessitated a move of house too. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.

Firstly, I changed my job. In hindsight, that really was a stupid thing to do but it seemed too good a chance to pass up. I was getting nowhere in the job I was in and was passed over for promotion several times. In fact, several managers in my department and departments we worked closely with actually protested to the HR Department. Which was nice of them but still didn't get me that promotion. So I went to work for a competitor. I had to work out my three months notice but because of who I was going to work for, I was given gardening leave. Three months to do as I pleased on full pay and with my company car. That was great! But starting a new job when suffering the symptoms of hyperthyroidism was not so great.

The drugs the Consultant had me on to control the hyperthyroidism, Carbimazole, gave me hives. That was not so great. So then they switched me to Propylthiouracil. I had to take 24 tablets a day. Yep. 24. Apart from rattling like a box of pills, these tablets affected my eyes. About 1/2 hour after they kicked in I would start to get double vision and incredible light sensitivity in my eyes for a couple of hours. For about 6 months I was either seeing the Consultant or speaking to her Registrar to get some explanation for this but nothing. It wasn't a recognised side-effect and so it seemed there was absolutely nothing they could do and I just had to live with it.

During this time came the final blow-out with Fred. His father, whom I adored, had passed away from cancer. Within 6 months his step-mother was tragically killed in a car accident. It was a terrible time and Fred, who was already addicted to tranqulisers, could not deal with everything that had to be done in the aftermath of that. He needed an emotional crutch and I was that crutch. His sister lived in New Zealand so dealing with all the nitty-gritty stuff such as lawyers and clearing their house fell to me. I didn't mind doing it at all. It's what you do isn't it? Support your partner in times of crisis.

Then I had my own family crisis (that's a blog story unto itself), and Fred's response? In the most bitter tone he could summon he told me to "Deal with it". He wanted nothing to do with it at all. I was astounded, hurt and a line had been crossed. I packed my bags and left.

The doctors, meanwhile, decided that, as the drugs were not doing their job in suppressing my thyroid function, a more radical approach was needed. So an appointment was made at St Thomas's hospital in London for me to have radio-iodine treatment. This involves nothing more complicated than drinking a small glass of water with a carefully measured dose of radio-active iodine in it. The principle behind this treatment is that the thyroid gland takes up the iodine and part of it would be "switched off", thereby reducing the the hyperthyroidism. For a week after the treatment I was not allowed to be within 4 metres of anyone for more than an hour. I had to have my own bedlinen, cutlery and food and was not allowed to prepare food for anyone else. Which was fun, particularly as it completely freaked out the friends that I went to stay with for the duration! What did make me giggle was the huge sign in the hospital which said "You will NOT glow in the dark"! The only downside to this treatment was that I had to come off all medication for three weeks prior to receiving it. I was crawling the walls. The full onslaught of hyperthyroidism left me exhausted but unable to sleep and everything was done at 100mph. I drove my friends nuts!

But the treatment was successful and for several years all was well and my thyroid functioned normally and life got back on track.

But I had no idea how hard it would come back to bite me on the ass a few years later.

To be continued.....


  1. It's hard to imagine just what it must feel like to go through something like this.
    Also I cannot believe that Fred was so insensitive after all you had done when his father died. Sounds like you did the right thing leaving!

  2. My Daddy had thyroid cancer about two years ago. It was shocking. He'd never been sick a day in his life. It took a good long while for him to adjust afterwards.

    I look forward to the rest of your story.

  3. Wow! I cannot imagine dealing with all of that at one time. I sounds like Fred definitely needed to go. It astounds me when people can be so insensitive, particularly when you've been dealing with their issues.

  4. Yikes, what a story! Isn't that the way it goes though? I'm glad your relationship has evolved to include Himself. Much better! Can't wait to read some more...

  5. Oh, I fear the next installment. Brilliant writing, Angela.

  6. okay, when is the next installment?? and I am so glad you left Fred!!

  7. Captivating. I'm feeling heartsick for you. Looking forward (but not) to the next chapter.

  8. So glad Fred is history!!! I await your next installment with bated breath. I know how it all comes out (you are here, after all), but the path from there to here is quite intriguing.


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