As part of my recovery I had planned a trip down to Provence to stay with friends Rony and Grant. Having ticked that off the list and the children back at school I had a meeting with my Surgeon today.
Trend and I made the trip back to Basingstoke today for my second check-in with my surgeon. I was prepared with a list of questions and was keen to show him that I was fit, healthy and positive, and to get a ‘star patient’ rating from him.
All went well. I asked him for a description of the surgery as I now feel far enough away from it to be interested. He explained very briefly what they had done in slightly less technical terms than the letter that he had sent post-op and both Trend and I were once again amazed at how much was taken out of me. I was also surprised to hear that my stomach lining will not all grow back but that I can happily live without it. I asked a few more questions about the hot chemo treatment and the blood transfusions and was assured that it was all very much as expected for such a major surgery and that unless I was planning to become a surgeon, I didn’t need to know any more details. And, given that he does several of these surgeries each week and has probably done more than anyone in the world, I can accept that.
I was surprised to be reminded that yesterday was the 6-month anniversary of the surgery – time flies when you spend half of it on opiates! He thought that my scar was healing well he was pleased to hear that I am up to 10K in my running. I asked if there were any limitations in terms of sports or activities and he said ‘no’ – I’m fine to do all the things that I could do pre-surgery.
I did, however, ask what the odds are of it coming back. He reminded me that he couldn’t give me any guarantees and that I would have a scan on my 1-year anniversary and each year after up to 5 years before they could declare me ‘clear’. He said that 2/3 of his patients don’t have any further problems. My initial reaction was that 2 out 3 sounds pretty good to me. On later reflection I turned it round and realised that 33.33% have recurrence. I’m a glass half-full person, so I’m not going to dwell on that number. I’m going to mentally park myself in the 2 out of 3 camp. I’m going to keep exercising and keep making healthy smoothies with my Nutri-Ninja , and I’m going to try to do some fundraising for the Pelican Foundation Charity that drives innovation in precision surgery for these types of cancer. AND, most importantly, I’m going to continue to treat each day as the first day of the rest of my life – with lots of love and gratitude, hugs, humour and purpose.