It’s been around 48 hours since I was told the news that my surgery went exceptionally well and barring possibly 1-3 sessions of radiotherapy I should be cancer free (not out the woods yet) so I’ve finally processed everything the doctor told me on Friday and realised just how much I missed out of my last blog.
The mass removed from my neck (the one named after Jeremy Hunt) looks like it did contribute partly to my stroke I had on the 19th of February. When they initially discovered it the mass was 1cm in diameter. When removed from my neck at the start of May it was 5-6cm in diameter and was crushed into my neck which is partly why the operation took nearly eight hours. It’d started pushing vessels in my neck out the way to accommodate it’s growth. What they think is the various tests and biopsy’s had made it angry and you wouldn’t like it when it’s angry.
Although I couldn’t feel it, that would have been a matter of time. Possibly a month or so before it started causing serious problems, including possibly another stroke. So when they say ‘we got it early’ they really did. The speed the NHS moved to effectively save my life was astonishing and although the critical phase is past, the radiotherapy will start in the next 10 days and be over by the end of June.
This means getting back into shape again. Before the surgery I’d got myself pretty seriously fit but three weeks of doing nothing more strenuous than walking to the bottom or top of my wee bit of road has left me less fit than I was. I couldn’t do anything more strenuous than that due to the surgery. That restriction has now been lifted as I’m healing quite nicely.
Compared with just a few days after the operation it really is some astonishing work from the surgeon. There’s still some heavy swelling on my left side but I apparently have a <Conan the Barbarian> thick bull-neck</Conan the Barbarian> and they had to go deep into the neck too to get out some of the cancerous lymph nodes but this will pass in a month or two. Sadly I will lose my bull-neck.Bugger.
This brings me to exactly why I wore a heart monitor for 72 hours last week. This was twofold, one to check any damage after the stroke and any strain after the surgery. Assuming there’s nothing serious then I have one final post-stroke clinic next month and then with both my post stroke and post cancer recovery switches to regular GP checks and maybe the odd MRI scan to ensure everything inside is as it should be. That sort of thing can be done in Glasgow just as well as Bristol, but I’m going nowhere til the radiotherapy is over, but it doesn’t take a genius to note that a possible window of opportunity opens up at the end of June, start of July.
This means I can get back to doing my life, but in fact I’ve been on cruise control with my life for at least a decade which brings me to a Harlan Ellison quote because everything is better with an Ellison quote.
My feeling is that any species that can paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling and write Moby Dick and put someone on the moon does not have to settle for McDonald’s toadburgers, novels by Judith Krantz, and American Idol. I get very annoyed at the potential that is in everybody, and how little people will settle for, and how easily they are turned away from their true purposes that can enrich them, by the most transitory silliness!
For much of the last decade I’ve settled for an easy life over actually doing things which is not how I used to live, but I was comfy, having fun and it was fine but what was a few months taking it easy moved, more or less, into a decade and although things aren’t totally wasted as some very good friends and relationships have been built up in that decade I’ve been failing sideways. Once this is past, that stops. As to what happens next I can’t say but I’m not going to have survived death twice in a few months to slide back into mediocrity and being comfy working for a bunch of wankers whose humanity is defined by their profit and loss spreadsheets.
So Glasgow is a clean slate. A vague plan will come together over the next month or so barring any other disaster that may be vomited at my feet, but at the very least once I’m up I’ll sort myself out one way or another.
This brings me to the last bit of my recovery which is my voice. It’s no longer the same, and I’ve lost the ability to modulate it a bit which will in course return when I fully heal, but it’s very odd hearing myself and realising how different I sound. I was speaking to my MacMillian nurse on Friday and she said it just sounds a bit deeper but for now, it also drops out completely if I’m tired which leaves me looking like a goldfish gasping for air. I also have something very weird which is a ”ghost” feeling of my thyroid, so it feels like something’s still there but it’s not. That’s very odd indeed.
This does give me a wee incentive to stop treading water as I have been so once I’m clear and healthier, I’ll have considered all this in the past behind me like yesterday slips into a memory but it’ll have helped teach me a lesson so I don’t spend my last (hopefully) 30-40 years on this planet on cruise control and get back to having a bit of fire in my gut and doing something.
But before that, let’s get this cancer beaten once and for all….