Toilet paper manufacturers of Great Britain can relax. I won’t be dispensing with their services just yet. In fact, the way things are right now, I might even consider buying shares. It was two weeks ago today that the knife went in and I’ve been home from hospital a week. The staples are out – if I thought I had a long line of piercings last time, they were even more impressive this time around.
It sounds like they had a good guddle around while they were in there. It turns out that CT scans aren’t hugely reliable – I had been warned about that beforehand – and so, although they found the lump that had showed up on the scan, they also found all sorts of other undesirable stuff. They had gone in, this intrepid duo, with the intention of clearing out 100% of whatever they found, whatever it took. I’d been warned. In the event, they found lots of tiny spots of ovarian “disease” (sounds so much more manageable than cancer, doesn’t it?) all over the peritoneum and what was left of the omentum. This was very typical of ovarian disease, they reassured me. Did I find that reassuring? Take a guess. They took out as much as they could, around 95% they estimated, and figured the chemo would nail the rest. I spent some time trying to identify the good news in all that but without much success.
The one bit to cheer me though was that there was no stoma to greet me when I woke up. I spent the week in hospital thinking thay had taken out a small piece of bowel. Maybe I just didn’t take in what they were saying, in the morphine fug, but the oncologist cleared up that misunderstanding yesterday. The “small piece of bowel” was 35cm worth, and included the whole rectum. No wonder I’m still feeling a little tender in the nether regions. What surprises me is how much of the body I can manage without. I feel like I’m being whittled away, but I’m not sure I want to contemplate what bit might go next. Still, my week in hospital was a little like a complete detox session; people pay a lot of money for that sort of thing. I think the food at the Murrayfield was probably streets better than at the Royal, but as I was restricted to clear soup and porridge for several days it was difficult to make a proper judgement. I think I spotted crayfish salad on the menu but wasn’t in a position to check it out.
So next thing comes a second round of chemotherapy, starting in ten days time. Perhaps it’s just as well I’ve shed a load of weight in the past couple of weeks because once all those steroids kick in it will all pile back on, as sure as chocolate is chocolate. The cells this time around are of a far more agressive type; that was no great surprise, because I’d done the maths (clear 6 months ago, cancer all over ths shop now) and really didn’t want to wait until September for surgery. The upside is that these more rapidly growing cells are much easier to target with chemotherapy drugs. There’ll be another CT scan. Endless blood tests and doctors’ appointments. No swimming this side of Christmas. Four weeks from now my hair will be gone again. Life has been turned completely on its head in the last two months.
But amidst all the doom and gloom come little rays of sunshine. GP2 got fabulous results in his Highers, for one thing. GP1 is volunteering two days a week in the local primary school and looking like he’s enjoying it. I might not be able to go swimming but I will be able to do some running. And yes, the plumbing might have been rearranged but the route is pretty much the same as it always was.