Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Short-term Hell!

I wrote about my diagnosis – bowel cancer with a secondary tumour in the liver – a few months ago in the post Cancer! I do not want to dwell on this too much but perhaps need to explain my lack of blog posts, if nothing else.

An update, then. Two weeks ago I had liver surgery which successfully removed the little beast growing there – or I should say, shrinking, having been battered by 3 months of chemo. From various scans, there is no sign of any other cancer so I am pleased to say I am now cancer free! In a few weeks there will be another 3 month course of chemo, however, to help reduce likelihood of recurrence – although there are no guarantees attached to this.
I would like to make a point about my hospital stay. It was, in one way, horrendous!  Read on, if you are not squeamish. Surgically speaking, the operation was routine – statistics you may enjoy: an eighth of liver removed, not huge since it is possible to take away up to 70% and it will regenerate, such a clever organ; over 30 staples in a long curved ‘wound’ that is now healing at amazing speed; just two hours under anaesthetic, nothing like as long as the bowel operation in February. All good.
However, just as I was getting into recovery mode, off-the-scale type pain developed in lower abdomen; I can only liken it to labour pains that were not spasmodic but continuous. Painkillers, including morphine, did not touch it. My bowels, ie the whole intestine, had ‘gone on strike’, thus the small amounts of food and copious drinks ingested had hit a brick wall, although kidneys were doing their job just fine. To relieve the pressure in my gut – as tight as a drum – the only option was to stick a tube up my nose into the stomach to empty contents and this stayed in place for two days and nights. I never promised this post would make pleasant reading!!
Now – my point is, there were times through all of this, when I lay there thinking that if I were told I must have live-saving surgery again, I would refuse point blank. I could NEVER go through this again.
But the reality is that with the wonderful help and expertise of doctors and nurses, I got through it, got over it and am now home, beginning to enjoy life again – eating proper meals, reading, seeing friends, writing this, and so on. Soon I can expand activities, including a family holiday, before chemo starts again. When in the throes of labour it is common for mothers to vow they will never get pregnant again, and of course they usually do!

So for anybody else who is in pain or suffering post-surgery in a hospital bed, I would say, stick with it. The chances are it is short-term and will be soon forgotten; I hope so, anyway.
I have ticked a major box, now must draw a line and move on.
More flowers - how lucky am I?!