Wednesday, 13 August 2008

10. My new team

There are three new people in my life and I feel amazingly reassured to have them. They are Adrian Tookman, the head of palliative care at the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead, Jane Eades, his specialist nurse, and Tony Day, the Macmillan nurse who’s been looking in on me for the past few weeks. Along with Amanda Sutton, my GP, they’re my team from now on in. And I’m delighted they’re on my side.

None of them is an oncologist. Because an oncologist administers chemotherapy and I’ve finally decided not to have any. The odds just aren’t good enough. Chemotherapy can prolong life but it can also kill you. I’m better off with food supplements, Mary’s vitamin gobstoppers, boxes of Belgian chocolates and sheer willpower. I feel a thousand tons lighter having made the decision.

So here’s my immediate plan. I’m going to get some stronger painkillers (Fentonyl patches which you wear for several days at a time). I’m going out to lunch with some friends and pay for it with my newly-granted disability allowance. I’m going to blow up Barclays Bank. And I’m finally going to send that letter to Professor Cunningham. (Yes, I know you were wondering about that, but it was always more important to write the letter than to send it. Now that I’m leaving the Marsden it’s the right time to deliver it).

Tomorrow (August 14) is Mary’s birthday. We’re going shopping at Selfridge’s for something ludicrously expensive, and we’ll pick up a load of delicacies from the food hall to tempt our flagging appetites. Happy Birthday or bust.