Talking About The Glass Of Life ……..

My friends on Facebook have said I can moan so, I have decided to start now. Well ideally it will be a blog of my journey through dealing with uterine cancer, but unfortunately the first part of this journey has been a pretty rocky road.

Wednesday 23 September 2015 – Admitted to Royal Infirmary Of Edinburgh for hysterectomy via keyhole surgery. All went well …. or so I was told when I came round. However, I had a lot of pain in my back, an extremely bloated belly and was gradually becoming weaker. It’s far too long and miserable a story so suffice it to say after paracetemol, codeine, Trimadol and morphine wouldn’t shift the pain, and I had projectile vomited despite only having water for four days, more tests were carried out which indicated that (so far unknown) damage had been done to my right ureter – the tube which connects the right kidney to the bladder.  So….
Saturday/Sunday 26/27 September saw an emergency transfer to the Western General Hospital took place around midnight. (By gum, I had no idea there were so many uneven roads in Edinburgh – I felt every bump! ). By Sunday morning my right kidney was brick hard and I could hardly move, my energy level was so low. I was taken to the emergency operating theatre where an external drain was fitted to my kidney . Oh the relief!
Monday 28 September 3am – copied from notes on phone
“Just woken up and my first thought was “wow, life is good!”, I’m lying in my hospital bed in bay 20, ward 57, Western General hospital , Edinburgh unable to get my netbook because of oxygen tube, fluid lline, bladder catheter and kidney drain so using the ever faithful phone . But yep, life is good – especially when compared to this time yesterday! (Witness English gift of understatement!)   [This was reference to the absence of pain].
I’ve just had a great wee dream replaying scenes from a film, [more about that in another part].
I have the most amazing group of friends supporting me and all I can see in front is improvement. ”
Later Monday 28 Sept:- Another surgery, this time to fit a stent in the damaged ureter and hopefully the removal of the emergency drain, but the latter wasn’t to be because the damage turned out to be more extensive than first thought, insofar as instead of a tiny nick or stray stitch as suspected, a 1cm piece of my ureter had been heat sealed by mistake.  This dear friends is when my world kinda started to implode a teensy weensy wee bit.

Incidentally, when they came to get my permission for the third surgery and were once again going through the possible, yet “very unlikely” risks, I put a stop to the nonsense explaining that I took Tamoxifen knowing that there was a risk that it might make me more vulnerable to uterine cancer but judged it was worth it for protection against further breast cancer. All the risks about keyhole surgery were explained to me when I had my diagnosis, but what option did I have really – I could hardly just leave the cancer to grow . So,  I just signed again hoped that my luck might hold out this time.

Anyway, I came round from my third surgery in five days to realise that the drain was still there, so felt extremely disappointed even though I knew it was a possibility; then I heard the recovery nurse on the phone desperately ringing around wards trying to find a place to send one Susan Wales who he had in his care because “we close at six-o-clock”.  Anger boiled up inside me. I don’t do tears – (never mind why for now – I just don’t),  but when I got his attention I made it very clear that I was extremely dischuffed – what a thing to wake up to!  To be fair he was really lovely and coped admirably with the obnoxious Englishwoman.  It was only that particular recovery room that closed so he took me to another one and stayed with me until around six fifty  when I was eventually found a bed in ward 56 .  He even visited next day to see how I was – poor fella he really had copped it from me initially!

Once in ward 56 I asked if they could let my partner know I’d been moved because I couldn’t ring him myself as I had none of my stuff. They assured me he did know and that they would have my possessions brought through from the other ward (which incidentally was accessed by a communicating door – it wasn’t the other side of the hospital).  Time passed…. and I became increasingly stressed by Walter not turning up.  I borrowed a pen and gave them his number again (luckily I could remember the landline – everything else was in my phone, which still hadn’t appeared.)  Nothing – zilch.   Eventually I borrowed another patient’s mobile phone and rang him in a high state of ….. well in a high state.  He had asked the nurse on reception duty if he could visit and had been told no because I was too drowsy!   Drowsy?  Bloody drowsy?  I was about as far from being drowsy as someone very, very far from drowsy can be!  I was incandescent with rage – drowsy?!  Anyway, while Walter was on his way in, I spotted one of the surgical registrars who had attended me on the other ward and asked him what the heck was going on.   He then told me what had been discovered about the extent of the damage and explained that the nephrostomy (kidney drain) would need to stay in for around six to eight weeks to allow the ureter to heal, then there would be another operation to remove it. However, if radiotherapy was required to treat my cancer it would need to be delayed otherwise it would compromise the healing of the ureter and probably necessitate open surgery at a later date to replace it. Oh great!

Och, I won’t bore you with the rest – suffice it to say poor Walter did get through about half eight(risking a speeding ticket all the way apparently)  and eventually he retrieved my things about nine.   I did calm down but this had not been such a good start to my cancer journey after all.  I am usually determined to see the glass of life as being half full rather than half empty but by gum – this time the glass itself had vanished!

BTW: I have had worse midge bites than the wounds from the hysterectomy. Not a single ache did I experience from it – even to this day over three weeks later. Maybe because it was drowned out by the pain from my kidney but even so – it was a doddle, if only the other thing hadn’t happened.

4 thoughts on “Talking About The Glass Of Life ……..

  1. Ann Oldwife

    Great stuff Susan! Sock it to them!! When I had my hysterectomy in 1988 my abdomen looked as though my uterus had been kicked out by a rugby player! Took me weeks to recover and left a permanent bladder weakness. But no cancer was found, merely a huge mass of fibroids. Get well soon. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Reply
  2. Vivienne Jones

    My dear girl, such an ordeal I am so sorry that you have experienced such a trial. You are cared about, although not known except as a pen friend, and despite your protests prayed for. Bless you my friend. Love your blog and am in awe of both your writing skills and your ever present sense of humour.

    Reply
  3. susanannwales Post author

    That’s why I didn’t want the open surgery. Keyhole was the best option for a quick recovery period and less chance for infection. Just such a shame the ureter got damaged.

    Reply

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