It’s been a while.
It’s been a while because everything has or had been going smoothly. For months I had been having regular checks and they had regularly been ok. I was just waiting for five years to pass and then I’d get the cancer all-clear and it would be big cheers, party poppers and champagne all round.
But then I got a cough. A cough that wouldn’t go away. A cough that you would have to call persistent. In the terrifying TV persistent cough adverts we’re told it can be lung cancer. So in my head I already had lung cancer. Or if not that then at least mesothelioma (that invariably fatal one where you have bits of asbestos stuck in your lungs).
I thought here we go again.
I thought a lot of things. I thought oh no, I thought why me, I thought FUCK! I thought all sorts. And then I thought I’d better get to my GP.
He said it might be a chest infection and put me on antibiotics.
Which didn’t work. He then put me on different antibiotics which didn’t work either but did manage to give me a dose of oral thrush.
So then I got sent for a chest X-Ray. Knowing she wouldn’t want to give too much away, I asked the radiographer if I was likely to be called back quickly. She said as far as she could tell no but don’t quote her on it etc.
Which sounded like good news.
And a week later my GP confirmed it. He said there would need to be other tests but it was more than likely I had COPD. Which was not quite so good news.
COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the most common form of which is emphysema, the most common cause of which is smoking. Now these days I hate smoking. But I did smoke for a few years in my youth when I was living forever. I gave up on May 9th 1984. Nearly thirty years ago.
And not only did I give up smoking, but I then gave my lungs a good airing for at least ten years while I went on a several thousand mile run. It seems that didn’t work. Apparently it’s just bad luck.
And growing up in a pub probably didn’t help, what with all the passive smoking.
The GP gave me an appointment. I had to do a test. Something called a spirometer test. I first off thought this was something to do with a spirograph, that educational toy thing which looked like it was going to be so much more fun than it actually was.
But it turns out the spirometer test involves breathing explosively into a plastic tube, then breathing in from an inhaler then resting for twenty minutes before breathing explosively again. Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds.
I went back to my GP for the results. He said they were good. He had a smile on his face. He said I only had mild COPD. Fair enough.
Then he said the damage there was could not be repaired. It was all about preventing things getting worse. I said how do I do that? He said it’s good you’ve given up smoking. And he wrote me a prescription for inhalers (like the ones asthmatics use except mine have to be special breath-activated ones because I can’t use my hands due to MS).
Now I like this GP. He’s the one who spotted my dodgy tonsil. You could say he saved my life. But I’m not sure my having only mild COPD is something to get all smiley about.
Then again, it could be worse. A lot worse. Cancer, Mesothelioma, TB, at least it wasn’t one of them.
And talking about TB, the line at the top is by John Keats. And if anything about this whole incident is going to get me smiling it’s the knowledge that I can now add lung disease to the list of things old Bright Star and me share.
The other things are growing up in a pub. And being on the short side.