I’m back at home, the operations are done and there is nothing left for me to do apart from get better.
The visit to the abdominal surgeon was my next big landmark. I would find out the results from from the liver segments and gallbladder that were removed. We arrived early and sat waiting nervously for news on my fate.
The nurse called my name and like a robot I got up and followed her. As I said hello to the surgeon I tried to read his eyes but nothing was coming through. Sensing my nervousness he said, ‘It was pre-cancerous, you are going to be fine.’ He went on to tell me that although it looked nasty, it was actually OK and may or may not have grown into a cancer. I didn’t really react other than to say ‘thank you’. Like my original bad news, I was in a daze and not really taking anything in. ‘No chemotherapy’ were words that seeped into my struggling awareness and before I knew it, I was walking back to the car.
The sun was shining and summer had arrived, I should be ecstatic but I was numb. Not for the first time this year, I was in shock. Sadie was talking nineteen to the dozen about a future and looking forward but I just felt like crying (again).
Dealing with the normal things in life can be tough, but dealing with your own mortality while undergoing the treatments for cancer can be overwhelming. It is a constant roller coaster of emotion and energy. For any of you going through this now, you have my respect, best wishes and all the good energy I can send.
My chance of survival post operation is now much better, I have a 92% chance of living five years or more. While it’s not over for me, I have been very lucky and it all came down to one x-ray and a great GP (general practitioner doctor) not forgetting the surgeons who were able to act in time because of an early diagnoses.
I can’t imagine that x-rays cost that much, surely it is more cost effective to screen people using x-rays and blood tests than treat them after they have developed cancer? The system in this country seems reactive, I wish it could be more proactive to help some of the people I have met on my journey.
The world cup and the unusual sunshine have kept me entertained over these long days and I am starting to regain a sense of myself and who I am, this had been one of the many casualties during this episode in my life. As hard as I tried otherwise, I became an object on a production line of operations and procedures, only able to look forward as far as the next episode.
Today, back in real time, things have changed. I no longer have the sense of foreboding that accompanied me like a rucksack on my back. I no longer have the time limiting feelings that were thrust on me. Today I am fine, I am making a good recovery and can do many normal things. My sense of mortality is more remote and abstract, just like it had been before all of this started.
My next scan is in about six months and I have no doubt that the first few scans will strengthen my distance and disbelief in death, unless of course it all goes wrong. You understand, dear reader, that I can’t allow this to happen. I have to remain positive, I have to believe that I will be OK.
And so my mind has changed…I have almost gone back to my previous life. Yes there are aches and pains, yes I can be short on breath, but in general I have hope and that counts for a lot.
This is not the end of my story, I will be updating this blog from time to time, but I will be concentrating on writing a book, the one I promised I would do one day. I had no idea when I started this blog how things would turn out, I fully expected to die and in the very near future. I have been really lucky and if you have cancer you can be lucky too, so never give up hope, whatever they tell you. So Sadie and I are off to walk by the Thames once again, enjoy the sunshine and maybe an ice cream, this place will always have a special place in our hearts.
To end this chapter I would like to dedicate this blog to all my family and friends who have supported me through the most difficult times in my life and a special dedication to Sadie, without her love and care I would never have made it through this. Talk to you soon,