Health update

Good news from the oncologist: the chemo is working.  It has yet to be confirmed by a second scan, but a marker for the cancer activity level has reduced from 200 to 26, and the oncologist says it is a reliable indicator.

When I first got the prognosis it was “50% chance of chemo working; if it works you have 1 to 2 years; if not, not long.”  I didn’t quite say that in the blog, it was too brutal.  In fact we decided it was best to ignore the ‘if the chemo doesn’t work’ possibility, so the good news was as we were expecting, specially as it fitted the fact that I was feeling better.

I asked more about the 1-to-2 years: in cases like mine, 10% of people are still alive in five years.   I must expect a new bout of the cancer, sooner or later.

In the meantime, I carry on with daily morphine, which is keeping me pain-free, and carry on enjoying my semi-retired life: yesterday I pruned the apple tree :)

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Adam Kilgarriff

I'm a scientist who has set up and runs a small company. I'm married (to Gill Lamden) with three children, Boris (22), Maddie (18) and Raffie (9) (as at today, 28 January 2015, in case I forget to update!) We live in Brighton, UK. Last November (2014) I found I had bowel cancer (stage 5; not curable; only 'manageable'). We've been adjusting to that since (and it is what provoked me to start the blog) My scientific area is linguistics, with my specialisms being corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, and lexicography - or, best of all, the intersection of all three. Since 2004, my company, Lexical Computing Ltd., has been providing a web service, the Sketch Engine, to linguists and lexicographers wanting to find out about words, using corpus-driven methods. Customers include Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Collins, Macmillan, Le Robert, Dictionary.com and around a hundred universities worldwide.

30 thoughts on “Health update”

  1. Excellent news, Adam. Glad to hear the pain meds are working.
    And, as an apple a day keeps the doctor away, pruning must be a very healthy activity.

  2. Awesome! So pleased it’s working. Statistics are tricky things, and I think you did the right thing in focusing on the idea that the chemo would work. Pruning — very therapeutic. It’s the one thing I’m good at doing in the garden…

  3. Adam, congratulations.
    How about planting a pear tree as well? In five years you will enjoy its fruits.

  4. Good to read that! “Pruning the apple tree” must be a metaphorical extensions from the basic “pruning a syntactic tree” meaning, right?

  5. That’s great to hear, Adam. Pruning is exactly what I should be doing too, fewer branches, more and bigger apples. I hope your wood pigeons can now fly through your apple tree(s) which is, apparently, the test for a well-pruned tree. Our apple trees are surrounded by noisy, cross pigeons trying to get through. Robert here, by the way, who will ring sometime. By the way what’s the link, if any, between a dried plum prune and the verb?x

  6. Excellent news
    My sister had a similar 5-year prognosis (20% in her case) and is still with us more than 5 years on, having decided that she would be the 1 in 5 to make it to 5 years

  7. Thanks for keeping us updated, Adam. That’s good news. Hope you continue to feel better. Spring is around the corner so lots more gardening work to be done and, hopefully, sunshine to enjoy.

  8. This is good news Adam, many thanks for sharing. Looking forward to many other positive news in the future. Lots of love

  9. Adam, Like all of your friends I am pleased to hear positive news. However, pruning trees in February seems delusional, it being -25C here in Ottawa for weeks.

  10. Well done you positive person! What great news! Hope that means you’ll make it up to Scotland later this year with the family as you planned? If you do, do come and check if our apple trees are correctly pruned. Also, any tips on pruning teenagers to improve their fruiting potential? Kxx

  11. Adam, I’m very glad to hear about your chemo progress and am always cheered by your positivity (or is that positiveness? – now who could I ask about correct noun forms…..). Prune away those trees for a bumper crop this autumn!

    1. Great to hear that good news, Adam. Yes, agree with other comments … your positive approach is surely therapeutic. Delighted you are feeling better. Slainte!!

  12. Wonderful news Adam ! No pruning but the transplanted hellebores and snowdrops from mum and dad’s garden are flowering for the first time . Gardening is so good for the soul( or rationalists’ equivalent}

  13. Loving your positive outlook! If anyone’s going to beat the odds and still be here in another 10 years’ time pruning trees, linguistic or otherwise, it’ll be you.

  14. Hi Adam
    I’ve always thought you were in the top 1%, so I expect you’ll still be telling the cancer where to go in 50 years!
    Greetings from Venice – odd that it should remind me of Shanghai!
    alex

  15. Hi Adam. I only just picked this up along with a number of your other blogs. I am so glad the chemo has had an effect. Looking forward to tasting one of your apples together later in the year. Enjoying the other blogs too.

  16. Dear Adam
    This is really excellent news! We want you around for a very long time.
    Best wishes
    Ana

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