Examination under anaesthesia – EUA

posted in: Cancer, Cancer and faith 0

The consultant pops in. He perches on the bed to explain that they have 16 patients in for investigations this morning so they’ll be working on a team basis, with 2 theatres working in tandem with each consultant examining the other’s patient as well as his own: ‘two minds are better than one’. No wonder they want us to be unconscious…

The procedure is delayed by 2 hours because they only have 1 clever expensive scanning machine and several patients need it. This wouldn’t be a problem but my blood sugar has gone down from 4.7 to 4.1, which they don’t much like. If it goes below 4 it’s deemed too low – it’s just a bit close for comfort. I feel fine though – after all, I’m lying around not doing anything.

Finally it’s my turn and a jolly porter wheels me off in a wheelchair.

I’ve been feeling rather nervous (I always feel horrendous after general anaesthetic so I’m dreading it) and I feel desperately weak after fasting (not one of my skills!) I’m too weak to pray properly but I know Mum’s church has that covered. At times I’m very conscious that people we don’t even know are carrying us, praying and caring. I’m not very good at relaxing at the best of times but I feel suddenly really peaceful and happy – and that’s before the meds 🙂 .

The anaesthetist gives me a pre-med and makes good humoured jokes about pre-meds being like a G and T while his child companion (can he really be old enough to be a doctor?) promises to do his best to avoid me feeling too sick afterwards. It’s all very civilised. Then the meds kick in and I slip promptly into unconsciousness.

I wake in the recovery room, where everything is a bit fuzzy but I can’t believe how good I feel 🙂 .

Back on the ward I’m told I can eat and drink. I do. Big mistake … I am horribly sick. Repeatedly. Every time I so much as sip a bit of water it comes back up. I lose count of the number of sick pans I fill and apologise to the nurses between pukings.

The Prof comes to see me. I apologise for continuing to puke a little 🙂 . He perches good humouredly on the edge of the bed, avoiding the sick tray with practised ease and tells me that the procedure went well and that their decision is to remove the polyp and the womb – it’s too difficult to do with the womb in situ.

Today’s scan confirmed previous scans that the lymph glands are clear – good news. Their gut feeling is that it’s cancer but that it hasn’t spread beyond the bowel wall so they can cut a chunk of the bowel out. There’s more good news: because of where the polyp is there’s enough to do a resection so they just join the bowel back up. I’ll need a temporary stoma for 4-6 months to help the gut to heal (if I don’t have one there’s a 1 in 10 chance that it won’t heal properly). They may want to remove my ovaries too but we can discuss that pre-op.

They’re planning on doing the op in the next few weeks. I may not need chemo or radio because the area is small and the cancer doesn’t seem to have spread. That really is fantastic news. It may not be cancer but they’re pretty sure it is: ‘It looks like cancer and feels like cancer so it probably is’. They’ve taken deeper biopsies to check. All in all this is looking pretty good.

Husband has come to take me home but I can’t go home because I haven’t yet got over the anaesthetic. He helps me into my pjs, sorts out my bedding and manfully stands by as I puke. He even holds my hand – I must look bad.

Husband has to drive the 2 hours back home without me and work out how to run our business with me out of the picture for an additional day – no easy feat. I confess I sometimes feel I have to organise the universe but I get a cheerful message: ‘I’ve told the team what they’re doing and they’re doing it’. Thank you guys xxx

I wake feeling much more like myself.

I’ve only been in hospital for 3 days but it’s surprising how quickly you get the sense of being institutionalised. It’s also a bit weird to walk in feeling fine and then due to fasting and anaesthetic to feel really ill and be confined to barracks until things improve. Fortunately they do and I’m allowed to go home. One of the nurses struggles to believe there’s nothing wrong with me, that the throwing up and ghastly pallor were simply due to anaesthetic. He grins broadly, claps and comments cheerfully, ‘Really? That was just you reacting to anaesthetic? Top effort! :-)’

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