The list of side effects is extensive and far more than the side effects of chemotherapy. The definite side effects include depletion of energy, weight loss, loss of appetite, and risk of damage to kidneys and other major organs due to inflammation of these organs including lungs, plus too many more side effects to enumerate. While the drug cannot cure, the scary thing is that it could potentially kill. If successful, it will slow down my aggressive skin cancer in my forehead, neck, face, shoulder, and throat area.
The treatment will involve one day as an outpatient every three weeks at St. James' Hospital for a few hours infusion of the drug intravenously, plus examinations and consultations in between to check that my other organs are not being damaged in the process. In the event that my body cannot tolerate the treatment or acts too badly to it, the treatment will be instantly abandoned. Unfortunately, they will not know if it is having a positive effect on my cancer until after the fifth infusion (almost four months down the line and between my fourth and fifth infusion).
I am pleased to be offered the drug as the fifth patient in the Leeds Hospital area. In many ways, it is somewhat a Hobson choice. It is the only option left open to me. If I take the drug and it works, although it will slow down cancer and extend my life a bit longer, it will prevent me from tasting and enjoying this year's spring and summer crop of new spuds from our allotment. If I do not take the drug, I could possibly die before this year's crop of new spuds in our allotment.
Because I love life more than new spuds, I will willingly swap the opportunity of having even days, weeks, or months longer with my wife and loved ones. It does sadden me, however, that I only have a few weeks left of remaining able to sing, as singing was a major part of my early life, and became a significant part of my happiness factors over the last three years.
So, I shall become one of the Leeds 'Famous Five' this Easter and meanwhile, I shall enjoy every single day left when I can still string a few notes together. Whatever decision I made today, of one thing I was certain, 'A change is gonna come'.
Love and peace