I am not a lover of the adjectives good and bad. They often seem inadequate and lazy. However, when coupled with the word news they become universally understood. Over the last week many of you have sent positive thoughts for good news from the hospital investigations. Finally, I have an update and I believe that it may be good, bad news.
We met with the bowel surgeon yesterday and the first thing he said was, “It’s all curable with surgery.” Phew, deep breath, but what is all? I wondered. Mr Chandra Sekaran was thorough, calm, and explained the detail of what was to follow with great clarity.
The bowel tumour will be removed first, hopefully on 4th April, if all the complications around giving me anaesthesia are resolved. They want to know more about my throat operation in 2019 and how they can pass a tube safely through my airway. Fortunately, I am in direct contact with my LTR surgeon and he has agreed to provide the information they require.
The bowel surgery will resection my bowel, removing all traces of the tumour, part of the bowel and a few lymph nodes. I’ll be in Singleton Hospital for around 5 days, then recovery is about 4 weeks or so. Nothing there that we didn’t expect.
We have also been holding the news, for a week or more, that my liver is also compromised. That was revealed in a helpful conversation with my GP. During the week of waiting for more detail we imagined very difficult scenarios. So, it came as a little bit of a relief to be told that they believed there to be only one small nodule on the liver, and that it can be removed with part of the liver quite easily.
Now, that is all true at present, but there is more investigation to follow before any surgery. I have an MRI of the liver booked for next week and a PET scan will follow shortly. The latter is to double check there is no other cancer elsewhere. There’s a lot to take in and things may change, but we left the consultation thankful that it wasn’t any worse.
The liver surgery will probably follow after a couple of months, all though that may be delayed by a possible round of chemotherapy. All of that will become clearer after the bowel operation. At the moment I am just focussing on the first stage. One step at a time.
Part of my coping strategy for starting to process all this news is to talk to family and good friends. It helps just to talk through what we know and what we believe will happen. Often, they ask questions that we hadn’t thought of and of course it’s really helpful to connect with loved ones emotionally. And of course, there’s writing, photographing and sharing this blog. The feedback and comments I get back here, on FB and through direct messaging are all tremendously helpful and supportive. Thank you all so much.