The Patient from Hell

I haven’t actually seen my Caring Bridge blog yet but I’m typing these entries and Evan will take them away to the motel where he and the others are staying and where they have internet access. He has done it all and I’m thrilled about it!

No internet in the hospital so I haven’t seen my emails or Facebook etc since we left home on Sunday, let alone any Guestbook contributions here. However, I am still all set for tag and release over Christmas and then I hope to connect up again, or will look into buying a wireless plan or something.

By the way, our snail mail has been diverted to Sydney (according to our original holiday plans) and I don’t know when we’ll catch up with that. Also, we rushed out of the house without remembering to learn the procedure for remote retrieval of messages on our new telephone answering machine at home. So please don’t fret if all these forms of communication are not getting through for now.

The good news

Mum arrived today – Hooray! – She is so much fun and of course I love being mothered.

Apparently there is a chance (50% I think I heard the Dr say) that my tumour is not cancer but “pre cancer” (ie not malignant) so that’s a happy thought! We’ll find out from the lapidoscopy on 29th.

Now I am catching on that my rapidly expanding belly over the last 3 weeks or so is not due to exponential cell proliferation of the tumour as I’d assumed. The specialist said it has probably been growing slowly for the last 6 months and has only recently got to a size where it presses on my leg vein (hence swollen ankle) and presses on my lymph channels in a way that causes fluid to be trapped. It is the build up of fluid that made my tummy stick out dramatically. I find this very reassuring, especially in view of the week’s delay before surgery.

I’ve been checked over by numerous experts – the specialist team, anaesthetist, ultrasound people, etc and they all pronounce me “young and fit”! (Ha Ha – so far I haven’t told any of them to get their eyes tested!) Anyway I love what they are saying which is that I am in tip-top condition for best outcome from mega-surgery and chemotherapy.

They haven’t done the draining thing yet. It will probably happen tomorrow morning and I’m looking forward to some temporary relief from the pressure on my guts. I think it will improve my enjoyment of Christmas dinner and I’ll probably enjoy going out walking and dancing again too.

I wanted a heat pack for a bit of comfort and to ease my slight lower back ache but was told the hospital ones have all been nicked by the wealthy antenatal patients, or some such! Anyway, Helen had the brainwave to buy a packet of rice from a supermarket and tie it in a sock. This works perfectly!

I don’t think we know yet where we’ll stay for the few days off over Christmas. That’s a decision for tomorrow and I said to the family “surprise me”. I’m glad to relax and feel others have everything under control, especially these impressive doctors who inspire great confidence.

When packing necessities for my hospital visit of course I grabbed my copy of the book by Stephen Schneider, The Patient from Hell – how I worked with my doctors to get the best out of modern medicine and how you can too. You know me, asking a million questions at the risk of seeming to interrogate people. I haven’t had time for reading yet. However, I am really happy with the service here and clear explanations, thorough preparation for everything and the kindness.

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