This is one of those ‘not sure where to start’ entries, as a lot has happened since I last wrote. The uncertainty as to where I was heading was soon resolved, I was admitted as an emergency at The Christie that afternoon and spent the rest of the week there, finally being discharged Saturday lunchtime. Not only was the blockage in my colon putting planned surgery in jeopardy, it was also putting my life at risk. This soon became apparent when I arrived at the hospital, with teams of doctors and nurses surrounding me with drips, tubes, injections, drains, and just about anything else they could get in me. The biggest problem was getting fluids into my veins as they were collapsing from the trauma that my body was going through. It’s still all pretty hazy to me, I don’t think I was aware of the seriousness of the situation even as it was going on around me. I’m sure the whole of the ward heard the discomfort of me having a tube inserted into my stomach, I can certainly remember that, but I seem to have drifted off sometime during the evening allowing the medical staff to do to me whatever they needed to do. When I did wake, there was always the nurse re-assuring me that everything was ok, and I was doing well. I vaguely remember being checked by the on call doctor throughout the night, phrases like ‘very poorly’, ‘just checking that you’re still doing ok’ and ‘I’m sure you’ll be feeling better soon’ coming back to me as the week went on. I’m sorry lady doctor, I didn’t get a look at your face, it was dark, but I do remember your cleavage hanging before me as you examined me many times during the night. The many pads stuck to my body, found three days later indicated I must have been hooked up to an ECG at some point, but I can’t say I remember when. I remember the pain, but not the morphine I was administered twice during the night, according to my drugs record. And blood pressure, blimey, I didn’t know it could go that low! Before I knew it dawn was breaking, and I was lying in a hospital bed with tubes going in and out of my body, but I had no sense that I was ill. I was desperate for a coffee, but only allowed the smallest sips of water, very occassionally. I did get a stern telling off from my consultant when he came on his rounds, I know, I should have rung The Christie straight away rather than going through my GP, but then I only thought I had constipation ! Eventually, the penny started to drop as other people commented as they walked past my bed.
“my, you look so much better”
“so pleased to see you looking well”
Considering how I was looking, drip still in my arm, tubes in my nose, drain still in my stomach, catheter, and all the facial expressions to match, I dread to think what I looked like on admission if I was looking better now. Even the cleaners, domestics and ward staff commented on my good health as I left the ward Saturday lunchtime. It made me feel quite humble really that so many people cared and noticed. I always think it’s wrong to single out any individual, I know that any member of staff would have done the same, but I must thank Nicola for looking after me that first night. It really does mean a lot to have someone so caring around you and making you feel at ease when a whirlwind is going on around you. The end result of all this is that the following day I became the proud owner of a colonic stent. Basically, a wire mesh tube inserted into my colon to keep it open. The radiotherapy that shrunk the tumour by half, has in effect damaged my colon to such an extent that it is now barely open. The stent is only a temporary measure until surgery, before which time my bowel needs time to recover. I remember being wheeled into the radiology theatre for the procedure, and the doctor explaining what would happen to me but that’s where it ends. It wasn’t a general anaesthetic, but heavy sedation. Heavy enough for me to be out cold and not remembering a thing. I don’t even remember going back to the ward, even though Pat and Clive were there to see me on my return. I don’t remember how I got there or how they got there, just that at some point they were sitting by my bed and we were chatting away. Pat and Clive were there when Mr S returned to explain to me what had been going on, I’m glad he did for, as you can see, I probably didn’t remember much of it. It was also good for them to hear from the main man himself just how close to the wind I had been sailing, I’m sure Pat will take every opportunity to remind me. I will be going back into hospital on 20th March for a few days when the stent will be checked again and decisions made. Subject to everything being ok, I’ll be going into hospital on 2nd April for surgery to remove the primary tumour in my bowel.
You could not really describe the above as good news, but at least it’s progress. But, as always seems to be the case lately, there’s disappointing news also. I underwent further scans this week whilst in hospital, which confirmed the presence of a further tumour, this time on my lungs. It seems I now have a full house – lungs liver and bowel. Anywhere else an LLB would represent a good degree, but I might just qualify for putting the initials after my name now. This means that the treatment pathway I am on changes yet again. It really is a very bumpy and windy road, and there ‘aint no sat nav to tell you where you’re likely to end up. The (revised) plan is that after recovering from bowel surgery, I’ll be undergoing an intensive course of chemotherapy. I don’t know the precise details yet, the news was only given to me tSaturday morning, and I’ll have to see the oncologist before the position is clear as to what cocktail of poisons he has in line for me. Should be fun though!
Well I’d better leave it at that for today, don’t want to burden anyone with the excitement of too much good news in one go. I’ll leave you with the view I’ve had for the last week. It may seem like any other ordinary hospital building, but believe me, this place is no ordinary hospital, this place is The Christie.
Don’t forget the awesome @Laird_Doyle (aka Chris) is running the BUPA Great Manchester Run in aid of CANCER RESEARCH UK. Still plenty of time for donations to be made