It’s all gone Pete Tong!

What can I say?

I got up very early today and started taking my super high dose of dexamethasone in preparation for Taxotere and Herceptin (TH1) tomorrow.  I made the 45 minute journey through floods to get my bloods done.  I asked the phlebotomist to take a rather large quantity of extra blood samples so I may participate in the Imperial Cancer Research  BOCS study where I hope to contribute to the body of knowledge and the race for a cure for breast and ovarian cancers.  I also dropped by to see the trials nurse at chemo camp where I formally completed my paperwork for the Persephone trial, another attempt to improve the body of knowledge and possibly make this all just a bit more bearable for future generations.

For the past few weeks even if it’s made me gag I’ve eaten as balanced a diet as possible to ensure my blood, especially the white blood count and neutrophils, stayed above the cut-off point for chemo to take place.  I’ve approached saintliness and that’s no mean feat when undergoing this treatment.  Don’t get me wrong, I do not enjoy it one iota but I work darned hard to make sure I do everything I possibly can to keep the chemo on track.

Today it’s all gone Pete Tong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Due to an admin error it’s all gone Pete Tong!

All I can say is Fec. A great big Fec with extra Fec-ing Fecs on top.  It’s all gone Pete Tong and what’s more it’s absolutely nothing to do with me, my somewhat strange, deranged and deviant body or my incredibly important yet out-of-a-stone only blood donations.

It’s almost impossible to believe but it’s all gone Pete Tong because for some reason beknown exclusively to the admin powers that be, my blood test results were not treated as urgent today.  Instead they went in to the ‘we’ll get round to them at some stage’ routine reporting pile.  Here come the dominoes….. as my blood test results weren’t passed to chemo camp pharmacy in sufficient time, my Herceptin prescription wasn’t written up for tomorrow.  As my Herceptin wasn’t written-up, my oncologist wants to delay my treatment.  I’ve taken a whole days worth of super-strong steroids for no reason whatsoever and there’ll be no TH1 for me to look forward to in the morning. I now have to wait until Tuesday 4th December.

I tried telling myself it’s just a one week delay but the reality is it’s not that simple.  A one week delay means TH2 falls on 25th December.  Chemo camp isn’t open on Christmas day and even if it was I’m fec-ed if I’d rock up for chemo instead of spending time with my family when fully cognizant that for the rest of Christmas and New Year I’d be sore, sickly and dealing with a new set of side effects. It’s inevitable. Just as a row of dominoes creates the domino effect once the first is flicked, delaying  TH1 means TH2 will also be delayed.

I’m not a betting person but I know a dead cert when I see one and here’s the rub. TH2 will not be delayed by just one week, it’ll be delayed by just over a fortnight because a Doctor must be present when I have Taxotere and Herceptin (in case of the allergic reactions I mentioned in Ascending at Altitude  It’s Christmas, the Doctors won’t be back until January 2nd at the earliest. TH2 will be January 3rd at the very best projection. All because someone in ‘admin’ failed to note that my blood results were marked urgent at 9.30 am this morning. >:-/

It gets even better when I look ahead to 2013. All the medical people associated with my treatment journey insist that: I must not look ahead, I should take each day as it comes, I ought to stop planning and concentrate on getting through the present.  What they haven’t appreciated is that I get through the present by looking ahead, imagining how, where and with whom I’ll be enjoying my life in the months, years and decades to come.  I’m 43, I’m expecting to double that in spite of my degenerate body so I don’t intend to be confined to a 24 hour event horizon.  My mind doesn’t work well with simple achievable goals – they’re too easy, they present no challenge and to me they’re a bit of a cop-out.  My mind finds inspiration when it cogitates on objectives that look almost entirely unachievable, the kind some people might shake their head about and say “oh my God” or “that’s impossible” without giving them a second glance.   But that’s the way I’m wired up, always have been and probably always will be.

I anticipated being done with chemo on January 8th, very early into 2013.  Finishing in the first full working week of 2013 meant that when I came to re-write history, as we all do,  I could easily consign chemo and all it has brought me into the strange events of 2012 category.  I could cope with mentally fudging dates so early into the New Year thus liberating myself and considering 2013 a completely fresh start where I’m cancer-free all year and for many decades to come.  Now it looks like chemo won’t finish until the end of January, a whole 1/12 the way through 2013 and even with my hyperactive imagination I’ll find it hard to fudge a whole month out of existence.  I know the Herceptin hokey-cokey spans most of next year but I’m told it’s nowhere near as much fun as chemo so I’d consigned it to the ‘still fighting cancer minus head to toe collateral damage, keep strong and carry on’ category.

And the icing on this super sticky cake….. if my remaining chemos are delayed along the lines I anticipate above I’ll stop getting paid for the pleasure of my (until now) regular near-death experience and all the post-chemo recovery period Dr C predicts  ‘takes a while.’ The most expensive time of  year when heating bills are astronomical, food prices are rising faster than ever, I’m forced to buy a lot of my own drugs via Amazon because the health authority can’t afford them and simply filling my car with fuel for hospital trips consumes a significant chunk of our household budget.  Fec-ing fantastic. I don’t use the very, very naughty swear word but if I did, today might be a good day to use it. All because of a stupid and completely avoidable admin error. Thanks whoever you are, you’ve made my day, my month, probably my year and you’re going to have a material impact on me and my family next year too. That’s just perfect.

I’m going to have to play the Glad Game ( ) full-on like a woman demonically possessed of boundless optimism, limitless forgiveness and the remainder of a 16 mg corticosteroid ‘high’, starting right now. So here’s the initial glad list:

1. I can immediately stop taking excessive corticosteroids that speed my heart, cause dizziness, swelling, migraine and turn me bright red… and restart them next Monday.

2. I won’t endure poking, prodding and battered-wife style bruising involved in numerous failed attempts to find veins for chemo tomorrow. A one week reprieve might offer my hand and wrist a few extra days to regenerate into something more veiny. Be glad bony appendages, you’re onto a winner this week.

3. I don’t have to anticipate what will happen to me during or after TH1. It’s only temporary but I’ll use the time to think other, lighter thoughts as I stay awake all night tonight thanks to aforementioned steroids.

4. I’m glad I decided that when the sky falls I want to be Bond ( Another admin-related Pete Tong incident might make my moral compass swerve violently away from cake and cocktails; procurement of a SIG P226 would become my only mission.  Screwing up my chemo schedule, my thoughts about 2013 and my pay might be a tiny inconsequence for whoever made this jolly cock-up but it has huge consequences for me and my family. I beseech you, do not do it again because you really wouldn’t like me once I’m strawberry blonde, more than slightly annoyed, armed and Bond.

I’ll play the glad game again tomorrow when I suspect my thoughts may no longer be clouded by images of incompetent administrators and semi-automatic handguns.  If I don’t post here in the next few days it’s most likely due to the fact that someone in law enforcement is reading my blog and visited me with ‘the big key’ during one of those special early morning wake-up calls.  That kind of action really would throw everything into the ‘it’s all gone Pete Tong’ category but I’m optimistic at heart and there’s room for the glad game to continue, even in the trickiest of fixes.

I already have my hypothetical list of things to be glad about including:

  • Providing my neighbours with something juicier to gossip about than the state of our weather.
  • Feelings of immense gratitude because Sky TV, higher education degree courses, food, drink and heating are all gratis when detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
  • My cancer treatment would carry on regardless of my incarceration.
  • I’d avoid infections as I’d be held in solitary confinement.
  • Zub could claim single occupancy council tax relief (a 75% reduction) so there’d be one less dirty great bill to worry about.

I guess the incompetent admin might not agree if I secured a SIG, developed a psychotic version of chemo brain and was unable to forgive any more errors.  But when I come to think of it there’s a tidal wave of gladness just waiting to wash over me if I were to be arrested and locked-up.  It looks like we might be significantly better off if it all went a bit Pete Tong.  Just how wrong is that?





4 thoughts on “It’s all gone Pete Tong!

  1. I ‘liked’ this post, because I too am more than ‘pissed’ on your behalf. If only those who carry out the more mundane functions in healthcare appreciated the enormity of such an error. I dare say that the person(s) involved are ‘overworked’ and possibly ‘underpaid’ – but, when it comes to dealing with the welfare of others, ‘The Utmost Care’ should always be taken. Carelessness cannot be condoned, especially when the health of people receiving treatment is involved. We are all human and we all make mistakes, but a system that lets such mistakes occur is badly flawed.
    Thinking of you and yours, as always.


  2. cripes.. it’s one thing when something out of anyone’s control delays treatment, but incompetence on the part of the medical staff? If I was a betting gal, I’d bet they certainly could have put in an order with the pharmacy and have you all set to go tomorrow. My blood work was done one hour before scheduled chemo and the meds were not ordered up until the results were gone over. I know every hospital does it differently, but they could bend a little. You go ahead and think happy thoughts. I’ll be pissed for you 🙂


    • Thanks for being pissed for me Susan. I want to be pissed but might get too tempted to purchase the SIG and that worries me a lot. In the medical staff’s defence the path lab is 25 miles away from the chemo unit where I get my bloods done so they don’t talk to each other except by fax. The admin error will be down to one of the many admins who sort the sample bags into urgent and non urgent for the lab staff to analyse. It’s the in-tray system from hell. If they worked for me they’d be getting a damned good sorting over this kind of mistake.


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