Saturday, August 19, 2006

I've lost me mum!

First of all, how am I? Pretty good, considering. I’m very sore in places both related and unrelated to the surgery. I’m pretty late with this update as I was delayed leaving hospital for a couple of days. Delay 1 was caused by a low grade fever combined with bloating of the legs and feet. (I know now why they call it bloating – my legs look like two huge bratwurst with a bloater at the end of each one.). Ordinarily, this delay would make me very unhappy and more than likely to voice a timid little complaint. But not this one. The next day I did start to whine after being told that my white blood cell count was a touch high and they wanted to do a CAT scan. Eventually they let me out last night at around 5 p.m. Here at home, the differences come as a shock. We bought a new bed just before I went in and it takes up more space in the bedroom. As does my new metal girl-friend, the pump pole to whom I have been forced to become attached. She stands by the bed all night, feeding me continuously through my tube. Trouble is, she’s also got to come to the bathroom with me whenever I need to pee and with the meds I’m taking that’s a few trips per night. I’m pretty sure she watches as well. Bottom line is, I’m very sore as I said, and everything that I can do takes about three times as long. But each day the improvements are noticeable.
A couple of days ago we received the formal results of the biopsy of the removed tissues. We killed it; the ologists, Kath, and I killed it dead. The surgeon removed several cm of esophagus, a big dollop of stomach, and 31 lymph nodes in all. Not a trace of the cancer anywhere on the biopsy. So as you can imagine, Kath and I are overjoyed. This news means that I’ve now got a better than even chance of being cured completely. When you look at the numbers when this whole thing begins, it’s quite terrifying. Moving up into the better than evens sector is just wonderful.
What do I now do with the blog? While I have been in here I have experienced so much. Many of those experiences and their associated memories have been manipulated by different levels of consciousness, both the gently wandering levels generated naturally by me, and the roller-coaster type of rushing changes caused by pain meds. Whatever the derivation of the memory or experience, they’re all worth commenting on.
So I’ll split the memories up into compartments such as emotions, tests, diet, and so on and have a brief chat about each group.
First, for this post, I’ll talk about some of the emotional issues that Kath and I have noticed and experienced over the last couple of weeks. The weekend preceding the surgery was quite easy to deal with, given that I was on a clear liquid diet and having to drink a gallon of “bowel cleansing” fluid called “Golytley”. If ever there were a more misnamed product, I’d like to meet it. Anyway, the prep led to lots of jolly japes and jokes that successfully covered our feelings. The morning of the surgery was a bit different though. We both smiled hugely and often at one another from the time we got up in the morning until she left me in the surgery prep room. Each of these was a mixture of a smile of encouragement and a rictus of fear. We were both extremely anxious.
I was asleep for a full six hours after a surgery that took seven hours in itself, and awoke in ICU with nurses at my beck and call. The relief on waking up from major surgery is heavily attenuated by the happy drugs that you are on, but it’s still strong enough to break through. And seeing Kath for the first time after surgery; well, it made my heart jump for joy.
After that, the emotions sorted themselves into groups – family, lifestyle, everything connected with pain and pain relief, and so on. These meandered along in sine waves, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. In particular there was a giant spike in anxiety for Chris when the “Let’s blow up planes for fun” group were discovered on the day that he flew out.
Coming home was about the most surprising for me. I suddenly felt scared at being left on my own. Big baby. But the feeling is there alright. I guess it’s related to the fact that while in hospital I had ready access to advice all the time (and to pain control on demand). Both of these are suddenly removed; well, not removed but they become more distant; and although you are ready for things like tube feeding and sleeping on an angle, and you are still in full control of pain meds because you take them (pills) when you need them, there is still this child-like fear of having “lost mum”.

For a picture of me a day after the op, scroll down a bit to "scary bloke".


At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

I am so very glad to hear the positive news that no cancer trace was found. I knew since day one that you would be cured completely!! Please keep up the fight.

Take care,

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Roger:
Great to hear the good news! I expect you have a lot of hard work ahead. However, I'm delighted to see that you did not loose your way with words and your sense of humor.

Keep up the good work!

Annemarie (formerly of Instron)

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

delighted to hear your good news and particularly pleased that the beast is dead and gone - mustfeal like st George after he dealt with the dragon!
I'm also delighted to see that none of the removed organs were connected to your sense of humour your spirit is an inspiration!
good luck

At 12:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Roger,

I'm so happy to hear of the good biopsy result and progress you've made. You truly are the beastmaster!

Best Wishes,
Dick Mc


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