Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Waiting Game....

So that was that, we now had to wait until October for the next CT and blood tests to put a marker in the sand and see how things were progressing....

The meeting had been far more up-beat and encouraging than anything we had done before. We had been given a leaflet by Sue that detailed what would happen with the operation from the point of admission right up until the point of discharge. This was very informative and allowed us to mentally prepare for what was to come and internalise things.
From the leaflet and the discussions at our meeting we found out that the operation is always performed on a Tuesday and you are wheeled into Theatre about 7 am. You are admitted on the Sunday beforehand for assessments to be made,inoculations to be administered and general preparation for the operation to begin. A visit to the Intensive Care Unit is also included to allow you and your family to prepare yourself for what you will see immediately after the op.
The operation lasts on average some 10 1/2hrs and you are kept sedated throughout the Tuesday evening and providing all is well gradually brought around throughout the Wednesday.
You can expect to stay in the ITU for up to a week and then get transferred back to the PMP ward for recovery. The average stay in hospital is around three weeks and I should expect to be off work for three months.

It sounded pretty full on.

We now had time to prepare. We needed to make lots of plans to ensure that our stay at Basingstoke was as smooth as possible and not have to worry about other things such as finances and the like.
We booked meetings with our financial advisor and reviewed insurance policies. We Met with the Macmillan/ Citizens advice beuro team who work together to support Cancer sufferers to find out if we were entitled to anything. Its worth stating at this point that Cancer sufferers are exempt from paying prescriptions and all you need to do is fill out a FP91A Exemption from prescriptions form and get your GP to sign it and away you go.
We also made plans regarding the children's care whilst we were away. My aunt has volunteered to come stay with them for the duration of my stay at Basingstoke and the rest of the family would chip in and help.
It is important for me to know that all these points were covered so that when I finally get admitted for the operation I can simply worry about myself and getting better rather than if bills are getting paid and whether the kids are being looked after properly.

At the same time it gave us the opportunity to think, to prepare for what is to come. This suited me as I take time to internalise things and build myself up mentally.
All kinds of things run through your mind. Will I survive the op? Will I suffer any complications afterwards? What will my quality of life be like? How will I manage with a stoma if I needed it?
Its funny, all your life you just carry on happily doing the day to day things comfortable in the knowledge that you are well and making plans for the future. Holidays,family days out,birthdays and Christmas. Subconsciously looking into the future with a picture of what you want to do and places you want to go.
I don't have that, I used to. I don't anymore. Just a black,blank space where the future used to be. I cant get it back until the operation is done and I know I have pulled through and hopefully PMP free.

You don't realise until you are in this position just on how many levels Cancer takes things from you. Physically, Mentally, Financially. I love my job and enjoy what I do for example. My employer has been fantastic throughout and I cannot fault them in anyway. But I have a pretty high profile role within the business that needs to be covered whilst I'm away. So at present we are looking for a person to cover me whist I'm off. Its tough though, I know my job is there for me when I come back but it still doesn't make giving away your job any easier. What if I don't come back? What if I cant do it afterwards? What if the person who covers me does it better? What if.....What if.... And the trouble is no one can truly answer that question.
So all I have is hope.

And we have allot of that! I'm fit, I always have been and I eat well. I don't drink (well just a little!) and I don't smoke. That must count for something even if it simply means I will recover faster.

We also decided now that we had time to come to terms with things it was time to break our rule and start researching this thing on the Internet. We needed to be prepared so that we could ask informed questions where required. We needed to make contact with support groups and other sufferers to ask them questions and talk to them about their experiences. It was time to take this PMP bull by the horns and !kick its ass!" as became our saying!

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