Archive | April, 2009

Scars and Consolations

22 Apr

Last Tuesday, I checked into the specialist liver unit of the Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital. They prepped me for the operation, warning me that they expected to remove around 60% of my liver, which would be survivable but might require months of careful eating and drinking as it regenerates.

Fortunately my surgeon, Mr Myrddin Rees, came around later in the evening, and confirmed that we were NOT expecting to remove so much liver. There were three lesions, one on the left of the liver and two smaller lesions on the right, and he expected to remove them all with wedge resections – literally removing a wedge shaped portion of liver to remove the nasty part.

The next morning I was taken down, operated on, then spent 24 – 30 hours in recovery – sleeping for short periods between having mad morphine dreams and trying to do deep breathing exercises. Finally I was taken back to a private ward room where I was told (now that I would actually remember things I was told !) that the operation was a success and only 10% of my liver had been removed. Recovery was swift – almost too swift, I felt great and ready to leave by Saturday, once all the tubes and drains into my belly were removed.

But I stayed one more night until Sunday – which was the most painful day of the recovery ! With the anaesthetic lines removed, the pains in my belly started up, reminding me more of my bowel operation when the pain control had not been as good. But I was ready to leave and go stay at my parents, where at least the pain was tempered with mothering and care from both Mimi and my folks. With the dressing removed, I could now see the scar on my belly – a large 1 foot scar starting from the top of my belly (where my bowel scar starts) and heading down and across to the side of my belly. Along with the bowel operation scar, I makes a large number 7 shape 🙂

Three days at home and things are getting better – slowly. Main pain comes from sleeping – it’s hard to find a comfortable position and moving into or out of a lying position is quite a chore. But the days are getting better, I’m getting looked after, and paracetamol is a highly underrated pain relief drug – it really does take the sharp edge off !

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Heavy times call for mighty deeds

12 Apr

One more quick blog post from me before I head in. To revive the past spirit of this blog, I’m going to talk about my weight again ! Since stopping the chemo drugs and continuing my sedantary lifestyle, I’ve managed to slowly gain a stone in weight, putting me back to where I’d reached after the running. Seemed that those drugs were using up a lot of stored energy to stop me actually gaining weight.

Not a big issue, but I am keen to not come out of my treatment and back into the old sedentary Ben mode. So I’ve made a positive step and signed up for the JP Morgan Chase Challenge – a 3.5 mile run (~5.6km) for bankers hosted in Battersea Park mid-July. This gives me a full month to recover from surgery and another month to get moving again before the event. Being a non-professional run, a lot of people end up walking much of it – which might be the case for me, but even that will be a good healthy start to post-treatment 2009 (well, actually I’ll probably be on the last few days of chemo then, so almost post-treatment !)

All of which brings me around to…. sponsership ! This year, they have promoted sponsership, and perhaps unsurprisingly, I have chosen Macmillan Cancer Care as my chosen charity. This isn’t a big race, it’s more an important first post-treatment step for me, but if anyone wants to make a modest donation and sponser me, that would really make the struggle feel that much more worth while.

Until then, I’m off to spend some time with friends and family near my parents home, and then onto hospital on Tuesday. It’s been a great week in the run up, lots of fun times, and I made a big fish pie the other day – becoming a bit of a favorite reciepe of mine. Love to all, Ben

One week to go…

6 Apr

So I come into the last week before surgery starts… and what a week it is ! Cinema, dinner, karaoke, gaming, seeing friends and family – everything a perfect week should have 🙂

A few people mentioned visiting, so I thought I’d put some details here. I am going into the Basingstoke and North Hampshire hospital on Tuesday for surgery on Wednesday morning. After that I expect to stay in for 6 more days. If you would like to visit, please arrange all the journey details yourself, but do drop Mimi a quick text to let her know what time you are planning to come as she is managing vistors to prevent too many people coming down at once.

That said, it’s a way out of town, and I look forward to seeing everyone during / after my recovery period of 4-6 weeks (if not this week !) so please don’t feel obliged to come down. Oh, and if you do come, please don’t bring any books – I am still well provided with literature after my previous hospital stay !!! Grapes are always welcomed though – seedless ones, mind you 😉

Getting more and more nervous about the uncoming stay – not been sleeping well for a number of nights now, which I suspect is due to anxiety or bottled up emotion (so typically British) or something like that. Ah well, best focus on the week of fun ahead rather than worrying unneccasary worrying !