When you go back for check-ups do you have a CT scan?
We have, we alternate, a CT scan sometimes, with ultrasound which is apparently these days considered in the right hands to be superior. An ultrasound that pregnant women have but you put dye in the veins and you can, with a skilled operator, you can apparently see very clearly what’s going on there, better than you can with a CAT scan, with of course no radiation.
You put dye in the veins for your ultrasound?
Yes. So it’s, I think they sometimes have a CAT scan…. I think the idea is that you don’t want to have too many CAT scans, and that also this ultrasound is in many ways superior. And I certainly, one of my experiences of all this is that, which I think people don’t understand about all these scans is that, and indeed all the doctors minds, is that what you see is what you’re looking for. You know you adjust the machinery, a CAT scan is just like you adjust venetian blinds, you know, and what you see through a venetian blind depends on how you adjust the venetian blind.
What you see in a CAT scan is very likely what you’re looking for, because, and patients have this idea that they’re somehow like x-rays. Or, or like a simple comic idea of an X-ray. You know, you go in, everything in your body is suddenly completely open and visible. Then you go out again, and the doctor who who’s commissioned the x-ray can see everything.
Of course the world isn’t, it’s not like that at all. The human mind isn’t like that. Just as people are interested in economics, see economic solutions to problems, and people who are interested in politics see political solutions to problems, and people who are interested in farming see, and it’s all about the farm. So doctors and doctors' machinery is very heavily determined by what the doctor knows about, what he’s interested in, and how you set the machinery. So if anybody ever says to me, “Well you know we’ve got three bits of machinery here, and three different doctors, all of whom you could perhaps look at to see whether or not something had gone wrong.” I would always think that was a good idea. And one doctor, one bit of machinery, not so, not so good.
When you go back for your check ups do you always go back to one specialist?
I go back to the radiologist who was part of my treatment in the first place and who has the greatest personal knowledge of exactly how my insides were last time, so he can compare them with how they are now.
Do you look at the scans with him?
No I don’t.
He just reports on them to you?
Well he reports on them in real time because you can actually see them when he’s, it’s…
It’s like watching TV, you’re just literally are watching, and he says, “I can see this, and I can see this, and it’s all fine.”
Is that once a year did you say roughly?
I think I go every six months for that, and then I see the man, the oncologist who applied the Streptozocin and the other chemotherapies, the man who looked after me in hospital. I see him every, every six months too. And I’m pleased to say that the knowledge of this, these tumours has seemed to have been very greatly expanded in the last decade. The treatment that treated me has been tried on other people. It has sometimes worked and has quite often not worked. I think at the moment, it is my understanding, it’s not exactly sure why that is the case….
When you go back to the oncologist, what does he do? Does he take blood tests? Or, or what?
Yes I have a battery of blood tests, that last you know twenty or thirty odd blood tests just, just to check all the various…