My poor belly

26 Aug

This is mostly copied from mails sent out in recent days, to update blog readers on my recent health news.

Two weeks ago was examination time, and after 2 days fasting and drinking a special drink, I was truly empty and ready to see what be lurking within me, causing this discomfort. In a fit of bravery / stupidity, I refused the sedation offered for this examination (involving a tube, a camera, and a small level of embarrassment) so that I could see the camera. Seeing your internals on screen goes down as one of the more surreal experiences of my life, and aside from some mild discomfort at points, was not too bad. This “incredible journey” recalled some films of the 80’s crossed with those medical documentaries on TV I try and avoid during mealtimes.

Finally we came face to face with what seemed to be the trouble. It looked large and angry, and I was a little concerned, but my doctor seemed quite calm. Unable to go any further (they should of equipped the camera with a laser gun), they took some sample (biopsies, to use the medical name) to work out what my lump was. One thing was for sure, this was not a simple inflammation as expected.

Friday came around, and I was told more about my lump, and that surgery was going to be required. This was sounding a bit more serious than I’d expected; I had still had hopes of taking a few pills until it goes away ! Fortunately I was already in some excellent hands and was being referred to some extremely well respected hands for this next step. Next step was scans to check the whole area for other potential bumps – don’t want to miss anything ! And then on to see my surgeon to discuss options. It seemed that a bowel resection was required, which put simply is chopping out the section of bowel with the lump, and to connect up the two tubes. The area was surrounding my appendix, so it was removed as well (2 for 1 bargain).

But the reason I needed this treatment was quite a shock to someone my age, it seemed the lump was a tumor and I had bowel cancer.

With barely a day to take in the full extent of this news, they had me checked into a private wing of Saint Mary’s hospital in London for the operation, which took place on Wednesday (20th August) at 7:30am. As you might have guessed, the operation was a success and the tumor has been removed. A short stay in hospital got me to the position where I could finally walk around slowly and eat again, and I have now been discharged and am back at home. Mimi has been working from home to help me out with cooking and other heavy chores that otherwise are quite tiring or hard for me to do. With most of my stomach muscles still weak from the surgical incision down my belly, moderate to heavy lifting is out, coughing, sneezing and sitting forward are hard and I have been advised to allow around 4 weeks to recover from the operation. That said, so far every day I have been feeling better and better, so hopefully the road to recovery will be relatively smooth.

After the 4 weeks it looks like I will begin some low-strength chemotherapy (nothing hair-losing, I have been told) to ensure nothing comes back. In addition, there are a few spots on my liver that are a little suspect and will need monitoring during the treatment to ensure they don’t grow; and hopefully go away during the chemo. More information on the exact nature of the treatment will feed back to me as the removed section of my bowel is analysed, and the appropriate
authorities spoken.

So still some things going on, but with some very competent professionals who so far have been highly reactive, supportive and positive about coming through this illness. I am looking to maintain a positive outlook going forward, without wanting to just “put a brave face on” and thank everyone for the support and kind words so far.

In the meantime, it’s back to the important things in life; resting, taking holidays and playing games.

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