Checkpoint Charlie and St. Pio touches base.
This appeared in my inbox when I got home yesterday.
"St. Pio bless all of us and help who in this moment needs you..."
Photo Courtesy of Claudia Steri.
Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C") was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991). 'C' being the operative letter here so I christened yesterday (my first time to get scanned since my diagnosis) as my 'Checkpoint C', AKA my Checkpoint Charlie.
The day before yesterday, I have to admit to being worked up thinking of my scan the following day. My thoughts were overwhelming and I got physically upset of nearly all of Wednesday morning. My mind appeared to be doing what I would call a complete stocktake since day one of my diagnosis. The horrible sensations to date that have infested my mind, the extreme care my dear wife Alison and her beautiful family are dishing out to me in bucket loads, the love and affection of my 9yr old hero Aoife, the respect and unmeasurable love and support from my brilliant friends and let me say strangers too, not just in Dunshaughlin but from all over the world, the latter a complete testament to the tenacity of one Barbara O'Connor and her global 300 plus strongly synced unit of what I have come to call Murf's army. The tears began rolling down my cheeks but in all truth they were tears of emotion, not sadness. A total re-grounding and rendezvous at a checkpoint, my checkpoint, my Checkpoint Charlie.
So yesterday, after five full IV Chemotherapy infusions coupled with my daily intake of specialist chemotherapy tablets it was time to see how this horrible thing is performing. It was the moment for my tumour to smile for the camera, or for the CT Scanner to be exact. The 'CT' bit stands for computed tomography. This €200,000 piece of kit uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of my diagnosed 7cm gastro tumour and the structures surrounding it inside my body. One hour before the scan yesterday I had to drink 10 glass's of a clear drink which tastes like liquorice and is used for contrasting. I had a fleeting thought as I sat and drank this concoction. I wondered if one had an aversion to liquorice what might be the case? I digress, moving on, I was escorted down to the Radiology Dept in the Bons Secour by the inhouse legend, my newest friend Myra. No delays here and as the clock striked 1pm bang on, I'm asked to drink my purposely retained last glass of 'liquid liquorice'. I'm then put lying on a table that is attached to the CT scanner. The CT scanner is a large doughnut-shaped machine.
The CT Scanner that got up close and personal with my tumour.
The CT scanner whirrs into life. The automated table transports me to inside the belly of the donut.
I was lying on my back, inside the machine and my heart was thumping. It was like the Apache drum beats as a kid that you heard in those old cowboy and Indian films. I wanted to distract myself so I started to think, think about St. Pio. I wondered is he helping me? is he listening to me now? The thoughts began to flow between us as they have done before. He knew I wanted a sign. Something was going to happen, I just knew it and then it just did !!
With that the radiologist, a lovely lady from South Africa comes back into the room to me. She tells me the computer system has just halted the (live) controlled injection into my body of a dye which the CT scanner requires for a successful scan. The word 'believe' enters my mind. I'm thinking 'Hmmmm'. Next thing I'm told is that the intravenous cannula in my arm is not functioning. It was perfect 10 minutes earlier, I know because it was used to take bloods from me to check my white blood cell count. With that, my South African lady friend ably assisted by Greg, who hails from New York tried in vein (sorry for that pun) to put another IV cannula in my other arm. It bloody hurt, (no fault of either of the radiologists) and wasn't successful. Blood everywhere, as I give myself daily innohep (blood thinning) injections in my stomach. I joke to both my radio active friends about the white shirt I was going to wear. Another strong thought arrives, "How are we now Aidan". I said a quiet prayer there and then to Padre Pio. In the end, the lovely Ciara came to the rescue and got things going. A big sense of relief raced into my mind. So much so I left my St. Pio chain and cross behind but duly retrieved after a lovely complimentary lunch both myself and Alison enjoyed, courtesy of guess who? Yup, my friend Myra ❤.
Roll on next week when my Oncologist, Dr. Oscar Breathnach and his team will have these scans deciphered and results ready to share with me.
I'll leave you with this witty text message I got yesterday from an Aunt of mine.
We were texting each other and I was alluding to her how I'm going to kill this tumour.
Her reply here just nails it for me.
My Aunts text message reply to my self confessed tumour threat.
Thanks as always for reading my blog,
If you are going thru similar and want or need to have a chat,
please do get in touch.
I'm here for me but I'm here for you too and don't you ever forget that.