1 after another

After the disappointing news on my recent scan and coming off chemotherapy and the trial drug I was on, I ended up in Glasgow Royal again last week after a few days of stomach pains. I had been to my GP last monday who had diagnosed gastritis and prescribed some acid inhibiting tablets. I should add here that I have recently changed GP practice following my disappointment in my previous lack of early diagnosis by my last GP. My new practice is also more local and I must say that in the few months I have been there the doctors and the district nurses in particular have been fantastic. Still in pain on Tuesday and unable to keep any food down whatsoever, I returned and was prescribed some strong painkillers and told that if it persists I will be referred to the hospital and after a tough night and continued vomiting this is what happened on Wednesday.

I was seen to almost immediately and went through a serious of blood tests and x-rays. The surgeon’s opinion was that I had some sort of lower bowel blockage most likely caused by an adhesion as a result of my bowel surgery. Apparently extremely common after bowel surgery this was considered the most likely cause. I was obviously worried that it may be caused by a growing or even new tumor. The surgeon’s advice was to get me on a drip and drain my stomach and see if things would clear themselves without surgery which is often successful and the best course of action. My alarm was the clearing the stomach which meant the dreaded pipe up my nose straight to my stomach, arghhhhh! If you read my post about being in the royal previously you will understand my hatred of this procedure and it wasn’t any easier this time. The poor nurse that had to carry out the procedure didn’t get an easy time. The first attempt was awful. After getting past my nose and I could feel it in my throat I felt totally asphyxiated, I just couldn’t breath and had a drowning sensation and it had to be removed. After a breather, I composed myself and we went for it again with more success, edging the pipe down slowly by sipping water and swallowing the pipe with each sip till it reached my stomach. It is just not natural, they can stick as many needles in my as they want but sticking that pipe in has to be the toughest thing and almost seems antiquated, I am sure there must be a better way and I just know that it aint going to be the last time it happens. I will need to get some sort of therapy and relaxation technique to help me deal with it!

Lying in hospital I realised it was precisely a year since my climbing trip to the alps. I recalled lying on the sun drenched slopes of gran paradiso feeling on top of the world, what a change in a year and I would say to everyone to grasp and enjoy these moments you get in life to the fullest, you never know when they can be grasped away, hopefully never.

approaching the Vittorio Emanuele hut on Gran paradiso

On a more light-hearted note, I was amused by some quality ‘Glasgow Banter’ in the bay next to me as I was being assessed. An older gentleman had admitted himself after his face had unexpectedly swollen up. His speech was a bit slurred but I thought at first this was caused by the swelling. The nurse asked him what he could have taken to cause the swelling and he went on to describe in great detail a square sausage casserole he had made and left out overnight and eaten that morning. The nurse explained that this would maybe give him an upset stomach or the runs but not the swelling, she then asked if he had anything to drink and it comes out that yes, he had been in the pub when this happened. Asked how much he had drunk the standard, “a couple of pints and a couple of halfs”, which, in Glasgow terms can mean a bit more than “a couple”. Now this is only early afternoon and it is then revealed that he only has one kidney! But, no, he insists it has nothing to do with this and reverts back to the boiled square sausage casserole. It reminded me of telling my mum how I had eaten a dodgy pies as I suffered from hangovers as a teenager!

Once in a ward and literally piped up I just had to wait and see what happened. I was to get a CT scan which would hopefully give more clues to the cause of the pain. Over the next few days the pain did subside considerably and things seemed to be moving better. The scan revealed nothing significant although confirmed the growth of the seedlings in my peritoneum which showed up in my recent scan. I was told I may get out on Friday but my consultant advised another night of observation as a bowel blockage can be extremely serious if not caught early. I felt as good as ever on Saturday morning and it was agreed I could go home although told to return if the pain or sickness returns and given more pills to take to help protect my stomach.

It never ceases to amaze me the variety of characters you end up in wards with. There was a 30 year old guy admitted on Thursday with a horrendous neck wound. ‘Allegedly’ he had been staying with a ‘friend’ who woke up and thought he was an intruder and proceeded to slash him and was millimetres away from killing him. His fairly relaxed attitude about the whole thing was strange. C.I.D. visited but he was giving nothing away. This was a real serious incident, attempted murder I would say but he insisted there was no fight, no argument and his ‘friend’ was sleeping walking when he did this and that was the story every one was getting. Very strange if you ask me and I am sure there is a lot more to it. It sort of annoys me the money and time wasted in an incident like this from the police to the nhs, it must be a huge cost. There is absolutely no thought given to this at all by those involved treating the nhs as a right and not a privilege. the guy will be ok, he is probably out by now and doesn’t realise how close he was to dying, I just worry about what the repurcussions will really be….

Resting up at home now I have hopefully seen through another hiccup and think that if it was an adhesion it had actually been causing minor discomfort for longer than I think and I had been putting this down to the cancer as i feel better than I did even before the major pain last week. I have lost a good bit of weight again and will have to address that. It is so difficult balancing eating the right things for my bowel, beating the cancer and trying maintain a healthy weight.

I was home just in time for the Scotland game yesterday and was thoroughly enjoying it until cheated in the last few minutes of the game. I really would love to see Scotland in a major championship. When we last qualified for the world cup I was still studying and didn’t have the means to travel to see them even though it wasn’t that far but I would certainly make the effort now and would love to see them in the european championships but this looks very much beyond reach after yesterdays result.

Those following my blog will know how highly I spoke about the facilities provided by the Friends of the Beatson and the wonderful people who run it. My good friend colin is doing a sponsored bike ride from Edinburgh Castle to John O’Groat’s on the 24th of September with all proceeds going to the Friends of the Beatson. This is a link to his just giving page , he has raised nearly £1500 already which is fantastic and thanks to all who have contributed. These are difficult times financially and I am blown away by people’s generosity.

I have also spoke previously about my involvement with Lanarkshire Business Group who are holding a charity meal and disco night also to raise funds for The Friends of the Beatson. There are many charities out there needing money but I have chosen this one because of the direct help I have had from them and want to try to give something back as they totally rely on grants and donations for survival. The few hours spent there can take away, even if it is for a short time, a lot of the stress, worry and anxiety experienced while an inpatient at the Beatson and having spent 4 days in the Royal this week I really would have benefitted from a similar facility. They have set up a just giving page also here for anyone who can’t make it but wants to contribute. I realise the timing of both events means there were will be a cross over in donations but they all go to the same place so thanks to all who can contribute no matter what it is. I am really humbled that I have inspired people to do things to raise not just money, but awareness. A few of my friends have taken part in charity runs with my friend David recently raising £1000 for cancer research running the Edinburgh marathon in just under 4 and a half hours and others taking part in 10ks and half marathons, thanks to them all these charities can continue to do the work they do and hopefully find a cure for this terrible disease once and for all.

Hopefully at some point I will be fit enough to do something meaningful myself. The Glasgow half marathon is today which I have run 5 times in the past. I loved taking part although I did find it extremely gruelling. There was always a few pints to be had afterwards to sooth the pain though, or at least put it off for a day!

martin, innes, tom, me and jason, george square pre race

I am pursueing options for surgery to treat the cancer which I will talk about in further posts, there are still chemo options open but I am hoping to be accepted for a new development called HIPEC which I will talk about more only if I find out if I am suitable as I there ain’t much point otherwise!

In the meantime I am concentrating on recovering from this weeks problems and looking forward to a better week and will try and get out for a walk today with the sun shining.

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7 Responses to “1 after another”

  1. September 4, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I really appreciate the frankness about your battle with cancer, and even more, the tremendous strength you’re showing/conveying in the tone of this post. Fight on!

  2. 3 Catherine in Wexford
    September 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Thinking of you,glad you are over the unpleasantness of the past week. Fingers crossed you will be a suitable candidate for the the surgical option. Will keep in touch.
    Catherine x

  3. 5 John
    September 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

    You’ve been through the mill again Jonny but we are all thinking of you. I love the descriptions of the characters you meet. It is great that you are keeping up the blog because you will have a great story to tell.

    John, Cecilia, Stella & Celanne

  4. September 14, 2011 at 2:38 am

    I admire your strength & perspective… Mary Jo shared your blog with me – I feel like I know you (even appeared in a dream… you were the doctor!) To health & healing : ) All the best!

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