I know it’s not always a good thing to do, but putting a term into Google can bring up some surprising results. I was looking for a little more information on what a ‘low anterior resection’ really was. I had a pretty good idea already, you don’t get this far with a disease without having some idea what’s going to happen to you, but I just wanted to see it in a little more detail, maybe with diagrams. The Low anterior resection is the surgery I face after chemoradiation has reduced this tumour to an operable size. What I found was a complete script on how to perform such surgery, from the patient entering the anaesthetic room to leaving the recovery room, and everything in-between. Once I started reading I was mesmerised. It contained absolutely everything, where every incision should go, and how deep. What needs to be moved, clamped, stapled, and when. Where the surgeon needs to stand, and what he needs to ask second and third surgeons to do, and when, and where they need to stand. It really was a check list of every single step of the operation. The list of instruments alone was 4 pages long, and it took me well over an hour just to skim through it. Expected time for completion ….. 4-6 hours. That’s just for a straight forward text book resection, longer will be required should any of the 6 or 7 detailed complications arise, which could need a change in procedure at any point in the operation. If you could imagine what a detailed step by step manual for complete stripping down and rebuilding of a Ferrari engine might look like you might get some idea as to what I was reading. It doesn’t scare me in the slightest, it’s fascinating reading, and to think they’re going to be doing all that to me ! What does worry me is how my back is going to cope with being kept in that position for 5 or so hours, but I guess that back pain will be the least of my worries once I come out of surgery.
It’s interesting to read some of the comments I get from people reading my blog. Perhaps the most common is ‘brave.’ I’m not sure that is a how I would see it, in fact the need to share my experiences with anyone who will read it could be construed as a weakness. An inability to come to terms with things on my own. If enough people read it I’ll be diluting my feelings and fears. My house phone has rung three times this morning, and I still have broadband connection. Dare I believe that the problem has been sorted? I know I’ll regret typing that sentence. But it does get me thinking as to how people dealt with illness and disease 20 years ago. No internet to research or misinform. I couldn’t see me going down the library every day, not that a library would have the sort of information that’s available on the internet. Not unless you’re raiding the BMA or RCS libraries. I’m a news and information junkie, I can’t cope without knowing as much as I can about a journey before I embark. I can ask questions, and have answers within minutes. Having to deal with a serious illness without information- that’s brave. Being a child and not able to understand what’s going- that’s brave. As I see it I have two choices. Undergo treatment and hopefully be cured. Or not undergo treatment and most likely die. Not exactly a difficult choice is it, nothing brave in that. And writing about it? Some might call it narcissistic, obsessive, self-indulgent, even arrogant that I expect people to want to read it. I’m not the only person to be affected by cancer, I keep banging on about ‘one in three’. Why would anyone want to publicly write about something so personal? Why share symptoms of something so intimate. Why share my own feelings, when I could easily be accused of not considering what others think. Perhaps it’s because I am scared, not brave. Cathartic is another phrase that people use when referring to my blog. It is cathartic when used as an adjective, and considering it’s definition as a noun, perhaps it is the most relevant description of them all.
At lunchtime yesterday I added my ‘tweets’ to the debate organised by Beating Bowel Cancer, Action on Hearing Loss and the British Society of Gastroenterology. The subject was barriers to early diagnosis. The first of these took place at a fringe event to the LibDem conference in Birmingham. The subject was debated by the audience, a panel of politicians and experts, and live tweets were broadcast on a twitterfall during the debate. I think I got my penny’s worth in. Sooner or later people are going to regret inviting me to take part in these things.
The new plants survived the night. There is evidence of slugs, but no collateral damage. I did manage to clear another patch of Crocosmia, they came up in huge clumps and I’ve now got a large pile I need to dispose of somehow. The area I have cleared will be for more spring bulbs, but I think I should stop then and take stock again in the spring. I’m in danger of over planting due to not being able to remember where I have already planted things. It rained most of yesterday which prevented me from doing any more work in the garden, which is a shame because I was fit and ready to do a full 5 hours and finish everything off before winter sets in. That’s a lie of course, I went to bed.
That’s just about it from me for a few days. I’m out most of the day today, and tomorrow will be at the hospital. All being well I’ll let you know how things have gone on Friday. TTFN.