Thursday, June 12, 2008

51. The PCR and the Climb

PHOTOS: Me and Chloe; Kas and Chloe in Sun Tent; Playing in the Tent; Chloe in her new yellow dress; Me and Dawsie on Ben Lomond for a Practice Climb; Thumbs Up Colin; Dawsie and his Poles...

The countdown timer is ticking louder and louder as we turn into the final home stretch of the Three Peaks Challenge build-up. We’ve reached our monetary target of £6,000, managed to shed a few kilos after spending so much time trouncing over the Scottish hillside and the group of 17 are ready to roll. There’s no doubt I’ll be sick of the sight of a mountain once next weekend passes, so I’m making the most of it while I can. The Adventure starts on Saturday 21st June and it will be at the foot of Ben Nevis at 4pm sharp where we take on the first Peak. The climb up the second Peak in the English Lake District should be commencing around 3am and then the final assault up Snowdon in Wales will be around midday on the Sunday – and the main goal is to finish them all in 24 hours! The energy levels are pretty good right now and my medication isn’t knocking me around too much, which is thankfully leaving me feeling pretty confident. I should also be getting my PCR results back on the Friday afternoon, the day before we climb. We are all hoping for this one, Doctors included, to finally drop below the 0.1% mark and give me a “major molecular response” – a level of response that demonstrates a much greater survival rate. It’ll be a big couple of days regardless…

I’m in a privileged position to be breathing a nice sigh of relief right now, and it’s got nothing to do with my CML. Obviously with my situation, I know too well about counting your chickens before they’ve hatched when you’re referring to cancer survival but it’s just great news to hear that my mum has had some very positive news following her thyroid cancer diagnosis. She went under the knife at the end of May where the surgeons sliced a six inch gash across her throat…an area of the human body that almost seems far too delicate to taken to with a scalpel. The operation was deemed successful and it was the following week in a follow-up consultation that they confirmed that they had extracted the cancer and it hadn’t spread to any other parts of the body. Gold! She’s at home now getting a well earned rest and putting her feet up. Also, to follow on from the “lucky” Sinclair stories, by bro Nick also went under the knife on his spine the very same day my mum was cooped up in hospital – three hours apart from each other. It’d been a mixture of injuries he copped during in the line of duty whilst being a policeman on the quiet Sydney streets that eventually led him to have something done about it. The big fella is recuperating well and he should be well on the road to recovery and back to being an active dad as he was last year.

The days are almost at their longest now in sunny Scotland – we recently did a practise mountain walk and we couldn’t set off until 11pm when the sun was dipping below the hilly horizon. As the temperatures rise, you can literally see everyone’s faces growing happier. It’s almost hard to imagine that I’ve been living in Scotland’s bonny shores now for over three years and its weirder thinking that I’ve spent most of that time with Leukaemia. I originally began writing this blog to keep my friends and family in Australia updated on my progress as they were so far away from me – it’s great to see people reading from all corners of the world now. But now, as time goes on and my CML moves from phase to phase, a bizarre feeling overwhelms me as I put pen to paper and jot my thoughts down from the past month. How long will I be writing about Leukaemia? I’ve purposely removed myself from most of the Leukaemia sites and only immersed myself in information that is directly relevant to me. My doctor appointments are spanning out further every time and these catch-ups are quite specifically about me and how I’m getting on. Most of the people at work wouldn’t even know that I have Leukaemia and I have to admit I struggle with that fact sometimes. Not because there is any lingering denial but because I carry on with life as though nothing is wrong with me and I do a pretty good job of just getting on with things. I’ve come along way since diagnosis but I also know there’s a long way to go too. It’s tough sometimes when I’m so absorbed in my family and work that maybe I don’t give enough attention to CML and what prognosis is awaiting me. Only this time last year I was writing about a potential Bone Marrow Transplant and my baby that was due in October…now I’m on the verge of attaining MMR. It’s been quite a year to say the least! This impending PCR result has really got me thinking as you can probably tell… Let’s just hope it’s a good one and I can continue to write about my adventures, amazing BBQ skills, current food cravings and only give the occasional CML update…

Thanks again for the well-wishes for my Mum and Bro. And remember, it’s not too late to sponsor us for the 3 Peaks Challenge! Wish me luck for the PCR and the climb – we’ll be needing it!


Anonymous said...

hi Matte,

the pictures are so beutiful and you have a nice family

Matte, receently ( 3 weeks ) i have diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia

i treat with 4 capsules of Gleevic /day

during 14 days of treatment my WBC countdown from 94 to 15

my doctor said you should continue your treatment forever and i cant be pregnancy

i have 29 years old , 1.5 year married

please send me some useful information that you have find

Tash Sinclair said...

Hey Matty,

Wishing you and your team all the best for your climb in a week's time. I have all confidence that you'll achieve your goal... Just climb safely and look after yourselves!!!

Lots of Love,
Tashy xoxoxo

P.S. Chloe looks absolutely adorable in that little yellow dress! Give her and Kas a big hug for me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt,

I am a 36 yr old New Yorker who was diagnosed with CML last October. Your blog has been an integral part of me and my girlfriend feeling normal since the diagnosis.

Just wanted to let you know and wish you well.

Joe DiLeo
Bayside, NY
United States

Anonymous said...

Hey Matty! Just wanted to wish you and the boys all the best for this weekend; three peaks in 24hrs?! CRAZY...
Have all the confidence in you and your mountain climbing skills and I'm sure you will make it. Get those little legs pumping Gav! All the best guys!!
Nick, Claire, Hayden and Eliza.

kitty said...

Hi Matt,

Good luck with the challenge and hope you get great views from the top!!!!

I was diagnosed in June 2004 (age 27) with CML, on the way back from completing the 3 Peaks. We crashed our car and it was only after blood tests that I realised what was causing the massive brusies on my knees!

Your blog is brill, I can identify with a lot of what you say. I gave myself (and CML) a kick up the backside last year and completed the London Triathlon, though only the sprint distance! It reminds me on my bad days that things really are not all that bad!!!

All the best, keep safe!

Hong Kong (currently)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I came across your blog when looking into desatanib. My mother in law is taking it for a leiomyosarcoma. It's still in clinical trials for this application, here in the USA but she's been taking it for a week and still feels good. She's a lot older than you are. LOL

Good luck and keep living well!

What really popped out of the google search when I saw your blog was the 'kilt' link, so check us out:

It's about kilts, generally.

Alan Hebert