The run up to the big operation

And I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

Just a recap. I managed to get a second opinion after the Durham surgical team ruled out further surgery following recurrence of my cancer. I wrote to a surgeon at Imperial Hospital Paddington asking if he would consider surgery to remove the latest tumour growing in my peritoneum. This is a difficult place to have cancer, I know none are easy, but this can't be cured by chemotherapy. He replied stating I should have 6 more chemo sessions to see how the cancer reacted. They all do this. I don't understand why. It's there now, please cut it out. But it's their rules so I cracked on. The chemo was the hardest yet, I've had too much of it and its relentless indiscriminate attacks weren't allowing recovery in between. My life was nausea and fatigue and then latterly anxiety. I hadn't known anything like it. The colour left the world. I didn't care about anything I used to be interested in. I was a living zombie.

But then I had my CT scan on 16 August. And the news was good. The tumour had shrunk. The team in London looked at it and invited me down to discuss surgery. I went. On 19 September we discussed surgery. I had the same procedure last year and it was tough but I came through it minus cancer so well worth it. I am weaker now so had to talk up my general health and wellbeing. I'm in a Facebook group 'Living with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer'. I'm a founder member but there are around 300 now. All youngish, all incurable. This operation gives a small chance of being around in 5 years, it's the Holy Grail. One member had the operation late September. She was weak beforehand and spent 8 days on life support before she started to breathe unaided. So yes it's a tough one but there isn't really a choice. And once there is no choice there is just onwards.

He asked me so arrange a CT scan up in Durham before the operation. I saw my oncologist on 23 September. She was sniffy about a patient asking instead of the surgeon himself but agreed after I explained my ongoing pain and cramps that started a few weeks prior. I'd been to A&E twice but sent home when they couldn't see anything. The oncologist sent me down to the chemo ward and the shit hit the fan. I had cellulitis, my belly was angry red and swollen. So they took me for a CT and the surgeon got ready for overnight surgery to sort out what she though was a herniated bowel. I wrote about this. It was stopped at the last moment and instead I had an operation to insert drains for an abscess. I also have a fistula, where my damaged bowel had made its own joins. I was in hospital for 8 days for some industrial antibiotics and discharged with a bag attached. Not a full colostomy, a bag to catch the abscess gunk. I was ok for a week but I needed to get to London for a 'pre-op assessment'. This was difficult but with lots of painkillers, I managed to shuffle along and got myself too Paddington. I asked if the CT I had had would suffice. It wouldn't. So I was left to arrange one. There would be no operation without.

I got home and tried to get on with this. This is where it got difficult. Patients don't ask for CT's. But I'm not bad at getting around red tape and managed to get a cancellation on 20 October. However, I started puking up again on my return from London. My surgeon wanted me back in hospital to be put on drips. I didn't want that so I have managed to force myself to not be sick. It's bile that is accumulating. I've learned to massage my stomach to help the bile go through and into my bag. My weight is dropping like a stone. I'm on liquid 'fortisips' and soup. I feel so weak but I have to get to London on 22 October. If I'm not strong enough to get there then I'm not strong enough for the operation. So I will get there. Will power is a marvellous thing. I'll take the pain killers and I'll put one foot forward. I have to eat and drink but it's painful to do so. I cannot wait until I can bite and chew something again but at the moment the cramps kick in not long after I have anything. I fucking hate that Deliveroo advert where every takeaway comes out of a bag. I'm so dehydrated my palms are flaky. Never mind Deliveroo, I need to be able to drink water.

I have to get there. The only thing that can stop me is if this temporary fix I have heads south. If infection returns, I'm doomed. I can manage the pain. It's just pain. They want me in at 7.30 in the morning so it looks like I will have to head down the night before. They have subsidised accommodation that will do.

I have 10 days to go. Then I'll be in for at least 2 weeks. I have my head around it. I know what's in store. It will start in intensive care then each day there will be some tube, stent or exploding slippers removed. Then I will be able to get to the toilet unaided and then with the help of prayers I will have a shit. Once I can prove I can walk and shit they will let me out.

So I have a difficult month ahead of me but I am quite calm about it. I have to stay optimistic that it will happen. If it doesn't. Well I'll have to face that challenge then.

In the meantime I hope Roger doesn't shut this place down so please behave. I have no other place where an anonymous alias can pour out all sorts of stuff and receive so much support in return.

All the best
 

YorkMackem

Striker
And I'm not sure I'm going to make it.

Just a recap. I managed to get a second opinion after the Durham surgical team ruled out further surgery following recurrence of my cancer. I wrote to a surgeon at Imperial Hospital Paddington asking if he would consider surgery to remove the latest tumour growing in my peritoneum. This is a difficult place to have cancer, I know none are easy, but this can't be cured by chemotherapy. He replied stating I should have 6 more chemo sessions to see how the cancer reacted. They all do this. I don't understand why. It's there now, please cut it out. But it's their rules so I cracked on. The chemo was the hardest yet, I've had too much of it and its relentless indiscriminate attacks weren't allowing recovery in between. My life was nausea and fatigue and then latterly anxiety. I hadn't known anything like it. The colour left the world. I didn't care about anything I used to be interested in. I was a living zombie.

But then I had my CT scan on 16 August. And the news was good. The tumour had shrunk. The team in London looked at it and invited me down to discuss surgery. I went. On 19 September we discussed surgery. I had the same procedure last year and it was tough but I came through it minus cancer so well worth it. I am weaker now so had to talk up my general health and wellbeing. I'm in a Facebook group 'Living with Stage 4 Bowel Cancer'. I'm a founder member but there are around 300 now. All youngish, all incurable. This operation gives a small chance of being around in 5 years, it's the Holy Grail. One member had the operation late September. She was weak beforehand and spent 8 days on life support before she started to breathe unaided. So yes it's a tough one but there isn't really a choice. And once there is no choice there is just onwards.

He asked me so arrange a CT scan up in Durham before the operation. I saw my oncologist on 23 September. She was sniffy about a patient asking instead of the surgeon himself but agreed after I explained my ongoing pain and cramps that started a few weeks prior. I'd been to A&E twice but sent home when they couldn't see anything. The oncologist sent me down to the chemo ward and the shit hit the fan. I had cellulitis, my belly was angry red and swollen. So they took me for a CT and the surgeon got ready for overnight surgery to sort out what she though was a herniated bowel. I wrote about this. It was stopped at the last moment and instead I had an operation to insert drains for an abscess. I also have a fistula, where my damaged bowel had made its own joins. I was in hospital for 8 days for some industrial antibiotics and discharged with a bag attached. Not a full colostomy, a bag to catch the abscess gunk. I was ok for a week but I needed to get to London for a 'pre-op assessment'. This was difficult but with lots of painkillers, I managed to shuffle along and got myself too Paddington. I asked if the CT I had had would suffice. It wouldn't. So I was left to arrange one. There would be no operation without.

I got home and tried to get on with this. This is where it got difficult. Patients don't ask for CT's. But I'm not bad at getting around red tape and managed to get a cancellation on 20 October. However, I started puking up again on my return from London. My surgeon wanted me back in hospital to be put on drips. I didn't want that so I have managed to force myself to not be sick. It's bile that is accumulating. I've learned to massage my stomach to help the bile go through and into my bag. My weight is dropping like a stone. I'm on liquid 'fortisips' and soup. I feel so weak but I have to get to London on 22 October. If I'm not strong enough to get there then I'm not strong enough for the operation. So I will get there. Will power is a marvellous thing. I'll take the pain killers and I'll put one foot forward. I have to eat and drink but it's painful to do so. I cannot wait until I can bite and chew something again but at the moment the cramps kick in not long after I have anything. I fucking hate that Deliveroo advert where every takeaway comes out of a bag. I'm so dehydrated my palms are flaky. Never mind Deliveroo, I need to be able to drink water.

I have to get there. The only thing that can stop me is if this temporary fix I have heads south. If infection returns, I'm doomed. I can manage the pain. It's just pain. They want me in at 7.30 in the morning so it looks like I will have to head down the night before. They have subsidised accommodation that will do.

I have 10 days to go. Then I'll be in for at least 2 weeks. I have my head around it. I know what's in store. It will start in intensive care then each day there will be some tube, stent or exploding slippers removed. Then I will be able to get to the toilet unaided and then with the help of prayers I will have a shit. Once I can prove I can walk and shit they will let me out.

So I have a difficult month ahead of me but I am quite calm about it. I have to stay optimistic that it will happen. If it doesn't. Well I'll have to face that challenge then.

In the meantime I hope Roger doesn't shut this place down so please behave. I have no other place where an anonymous alias can pour out all sorts of stuff and receive so much support in return.

All the best
All the very best of luck with it Foggy
 

chunksafc

Winger
We are all here behind you, willing you on.

If anyone can get through to the 22nd it's you

Have you got proper transport sorted for the journey down?
 

Nookie Bear

Winger
Can you manage to sip some diahoralite ? Make it double strength and just drink it slowly - it’ll help with the dehydration.

Something like lanzoptazole will stop the bile production too
 

Jack Ford

Winger
You've got this far Foggy, you have proved that you're up for the fight. Pecker up mate and look forward to your feedback after the big op.

Fight the good fight
 

SPUFF

Striker
I dont know what to say but I bet my life you’re an absolute inspiration And huge help to others on that facebook page.
We are all here behind you, willing you on.

If anyone can get through to the 22nd it's you

Have you got proper transport sorted for the journey down?
id expect him to decline but an smb whipround would be lovely.
 
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I'm praying (I'm not religious, and don't usually pray, but will make an exception for you) that you'll be strong enough for your op, and your subsequent recovery.
If anybody can overcome these hurdles, it's you @foggy.
Life is meant to test us, and by God, you've certainly been tested, . . but not beaten.
Very best of luck mate, you're in my hopes and prayers, (after watching shite footy, for nearly 50 years, I reckon, him upstairs, owes me a favour or two)

Ha'way the @foggy,
Ha'way the successful op & recovery,
Ha'way the shit,
Ha'way the walking out of hospital, cancer free ! 👍 🤞
 
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