Last week (1st-5th February) I had the privilege of visiting the TCG group at the Department of Veterinary Medicine in Cambridge, UK.
I had an awesome week!
In my normal life I am a vet who works for a welfare organisation in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. I work in a small clinic where I deal with vaccinations, basic treatment of animal illness and injuries and simple surgery (predominantly spaying). I see and treat TVT regularly and since 2013 I have been sending biopsies to Andrea. Until now, sending regular biopsies was the extent of my involvement with the CTVT project. But after this week, I feel more like I'm part of a team!
Sitting in the lab in Cambridge and cutting up the pieces of tumour that I had actually collected, made me see how I fitted in the whole picture. From the way I label the biopsy vials, the information I send, the pictures I take to the point where I treat the patient. And in discussion with Liz and Tracy and Andy, I soon realised how little things that I can do (clinical history, location of the dog, exact treatment protocol etc) can make a considerable difference to how the results are interpreted.
I had been asked to do a presentation for the lab describing my field work. Initially I was wondering how I could relate to my audience but it turned out to be very easy to share my veterinary ideas and experiences with the group and for them to make suggestions about more field based information gathering. It all came together very nicely!
My very comfortable accommodation was at King's College, right in the heart of old Cambridge. The place oozes history and it's difficult not to be impressed by it.
The week wasn't just in the laboratory. I was given a guided tour of the Queen’s Veterinary School Hospital by the Dean of the Vet School Professor Mike Herrtage, I also went to other departmental presentations. We did lunch, we did dinner and it was over before I had a chance to breathe!
Liz, Tracy, Andy, Max, Young Mi, Adrian, Maire and Issy, thank you all for an unforgettable week!