Doctor, I think
I have a problem....
Here are a couple of little (big) joke photos. Thanks to David Young for taking the photos, (though he advised me not to blog them). Sorry David!
I collected these Bunya Pine cones on the way back from Canberra the other day. They had fallen (as they do) from a huge tree in Sutton Forest, which I have been watching for the last 9 months, as the cones were developing. They are so large that one can easily see them in the canopy of the tree (if you know what to look for). So, I was expecting to see some fallen cones one day, and sure enough there were several outside the fence when I drove past on Thursday.
These wonderful Pine cones come from the native conifer called Araucaria bidwillii, a magnificent specimen tree, much favourited by early colonial gardeners in Australia. It is a truly ancient tree, as demonstrated by the fact that closely related trees from New Caledonia were used to illustrate the BBC's "Walking with Dinosaurs" TV program made in 1999.
These trees are very important to Aboriginal people, especially in their natural area of the Bunya Mountains, north of the Darling Downs, in Queensland. But I am also assured that wherever they are now grown, in Australia, they are regarded as special trees.
The cones contain many large seeds which apparently make good "bush tucker".
This second photo shows the casing of the seed, which is about the size of a large almond, inside this casing. Sometimes they are much fatter than this particular specimen.
Anyway, back to the reason for my trip to Canberra. I had been there to get a report on my recent tests for Lymphoma.
Reasonably good news. The big old tumour is pronounced dead ("Scar tissue" or "calcified") which is just fine with me. It can sit there as scar tissue, maybe for ever. I have other "scar tissue" from 10 year old surgery, followed by radiation treatment which "cooked it", and it is not causing me any problems at all.
There is still some evidence of uptake of the radioactive trace (from the PET test), but no evidence of the formation of tumours (nothing visible on a CT Scan anyway). However, in view of the uptake, (the possibility of some Lymphoma cell activity) they have proposed putting me on a Mabthera maintenance therapy program. Every three months, I will have a dose of this drug, which specifically targets Lymphoma cells. Well that's the proposal, obviously subject to review.
Apparently Mabthera does not have the side effects of the regular cytotoxic drugs which they use in general chemotherapy (although this site does report some nasty side effects of Mabthera). I have had this drug before, but only as part of a cocktail of other drugs "CHOP (R)" it was called. The R stands for Rutuximab, which is the official name for Mabthera (a brand name).
I will find out in the near future how it affects me, by itself anyway, as I am scheduled for my first dose late next week. So, this photo is to give a "brave face" to my future.
And they said I didn't have the .... ?
And David, now you know why I wanted these specific photos taken!