Some time had passed since Viv’s last diary instalment. 12 months seemed to flash by in a blink of an eye and he now found himself on a flight to New York for an emergency business meeting and finally a few moments to gather his thoughts and assess the year.
As usual that year involved many tests and check-up’s which had all come back with those two magical word ‘All Clear’. The most significant change for Viv however was the moving in to his and Avril’s dream home after 25 years of planning, 2 years of designing and a 2 year wait for planning permission. It made Viv think back to the point when the planning permission was approved as it was the exact same time that he was diagnosed with throat cancer. With the initial prognosis weighing heavily against Viv, he remembered being very reluctant to give the build the green light in fear that Avril could end up on her own with a half built house and the financial strain that would go along with it.
Avril refused to accept any negative feelings from Viv and the build went ahead as planned. Viv felt it was Avril’s positive, never say die attitude that fired him up and contributed to the eventual outcome regarding his health. If there is one thing that defines Avril it’s her determination and resolve to fight for what she believes in, in this case she believed in Viv, so we could all be sure he was going nowhere. So the following 24 months were consumed with everything that comes with building your own home. For Viv time ticked on, treatments came and went and recovery took it’s natural course.
Now, almost a year since Viv and Avril moved into their fabulous home that moment of wavering uncertainty seems like a lifetime away. Viv has embraced life more than ever during the last 12 months and has got back to doing what he simply loves – Golf, rugby and wine, probably in that order, depending on his mood of course. He has been fortunate enough to watch the Springboks win the Lions tour. He’s nipped back to Cardiff for the autumn internationals and has even improved his golf handicap, although I’d still like to see his scorecards for myself. The scorching Algarve summers force you into a golf buggy but Viv intends to pull his clubs around 18 holes once that intense heat subsides for the winter so that he can improve his overall fitness. I’m sure I will be there along side him so if he cheats I will let you know.
A rather special feature of Viv’s new house is his wine cellar and tasting room, a lifelong dream now realized and a place to enjoy with friends and colleagues alike as his rejuvenated taste buds take pleasure from the wide selection accumulated over the years. All of these blessings constantly remind Viv how far he has come and how grateful he is for each and every day that he can open his eyes and look out onto his almost completed pool. Because he knows that the next set of tests is always going to be just around that corner and the agonising wait for the results will begin once again.
The main set of tests fall in August every year, which includes the throat area as well as the chest, abdomen and prostrate. The radiotherapy treatment has caused a thinning effect on Viv’s veins which makes injections extremely tricky, particularly when trying to inject the iodine for the routine scans. It seems throughout his life Viv has gravitated towards beautiful women. Well if there was one occasion where he would have preferred not to do that it would have been during his prostrate exam. The pretty Portuguese doctor remained very professional whilst Viv remained very embarrassed. However, despite the discomfort and obvious embarrassment the results came back clear despite a small cyst on his right cheek which Viv has been told to not worry about. There was one more cyst that has been noticed on Viv’s liver, which again he was told not to worry about but Dr Julio still wanted an additional scan just to be sure. Viv would not hear the results until he returned from New York.
The radiotherapy had also resulted in Viv’s teeth and gums becoming unhealthy and disintegrating at an alarming rate. This meant initiating an intense dental hygiene routine but despite this it still looks like Viv will have to lose four teeth in his lower gum.
On Viv’s return from New York he received the results from the additional scans carried out before he left. The scans detected two lumps on the wall of Viv’s diaphragm. The clinic again believes there is no cause for concern but Dr Julio, Viv’s knight in shining armour wants to know for sure. So further tests have been scheduled for the first week of December, at which point they will know if the lumps are getting bigger or not.
So for Viv life goes on, interspersed with clinic visits, scans and agonizing waits. But that is something Viv has now accepted and will never complain about.