Friday, 14 April 2017

Post Op

Friday 14 April 2017

I am feeling well enough now to continue with this blog.

Thursday 6 April 2017
During the pre-op, which included blood tests, ECG, full medical history and an examination by one of Mr Kockleberg's team. The doctor listened to my lungs and heart and thought I might have a heart murmur caused by a leaking valve. Ideally he would have like me to have a ultrasound scan on my heart before the operation on the following Monday but didn't think it would be possible. I could visualise the operation being postponed. The doctor decided to take advice from the on-call consultant who thought the operation should go ahead because I was fit enough to walk my dogs twice a day and go running occasionally.

Monday 10 April 2017
Up at 4:30am! Sandra and our next door neighbour Margaret left for Leicester General Hospital at 5:30am.  The roads were pretty clear and we had no trouble getting to the hospital in time for the stated time of 7:15am.  I was the first to arrive and had to wait in a room as others arrived.  At 7:15 we were all taken through to the ward and booked in. At this stage I was still dressed and sitting in a small area in the ward watching TV.  Various people came to see me. The anaesthetist came to check that I wasn't allergic to anything and explained what would happen pre and post op. Mr Koclleberg's Registrar discussed the operation and made sure I understood what was going on. Finally Mr Kockleberg himself came to see me and said that a ultrasound heart scan had been arranged and off I went to have that done. Lots of waiting followed and at 1pm I asked one of the nurses what was happening and she said they were just waiting for a call from the theatre and they would take me down. I changed into a gown and elastic socks and as soon as I was changed I was taken down to theatre. Just outside of the theatre I had to lay on a trolley while the anaesthetists did their magic with injections and oxygen. 

The next thing I'm aware of is coming awake on a bed in the recovery room at about  6;30pm  A doctor by my side  asking how I feel. I said I felt ok and would like to talk to my wife so he called Sandra and I was able to say that it was all over and I was ok. 

From there I was taken to ward 26 and closely monitored by the staff there. Under the circumstances I slept pretty well and did not need any pain relief during the night. My blood pressure, heart rate and temperature were regularly checked during the night.

Tuesday 11 April 2017
Looking back this was the worst day. 
I had breakfast - cornflakes - coffee - orange juice. A 1mg shot of morphine. Then I got out of bed to sit in the chair and wondered why I felt sick!  I wasn't sick but I did feel rough. I was visited by lots of people during the day and aqll of them wanting to know how I felt and was I in any pain. It was difficult to explain - It was painful to bend and to take deep breaths but no more than I would have expected. On the whole I didn't feel too bad under the circumstances. One thing I must mention is that you lose all dignity.  Everyone want to have a look at the wounds and dressings so you just pull up your gown and let them look!  Not the most pleasant sight especially when there is a catheter hanging out of your willy!
Sandra came to visit in the afternoon and it was great to see her - I think it has been more emotional for her than it has for me. I called it a day at 8:30 and went to bed and had a pretty good nights sleep. 

Wednesday 12 April 2017
After the visit by the Ward Sister and her team on the shift change over, the Registrar and her junior doctors came to see me and told me I would be going home today. Catheter out, shave and a shower and I feel a lot better.  All I have to do now is pee in three bottles and then have an ultrasound scan to make sure my bladder is emptying properly.  Two hours later and not a drop!  I forced myself to go - tuning on taps etc. and managed  a dibble.  Another hour and another dribble. Sandra and Mac arrived to pick me up and I still had to do the third bottle. I did and they scanned me but another sample was required. I eventually did enough to satisfy everyone and the scan was ok. I just had to wait for my discharge. While I'm waiting I could pee for England! 
Eventually with letters for my GP and Practice Nurse we are on our way home through The Leicester Rush Hour.
Great to be home but I am ready for bed a 9pm.

Thursday 13 April 2017
Every day I am feeling much better. Today I showered but stayed in my pyjamas and dressing gown and didn't move around much. A visit from our friends - Ann and Dave was very welcome. Reading a book and watching TV and off to bed at 9:30.

Friday 14 April 2017
Had a great nights sleep and only got up once during the night. Felt much more comfortable in bed and most of the pain has now subsided. Emma & Nick are on their way to stay with us until Monday so looking forward to seeing them. 
Everything seems to be going well and I know it will be some time before I am fully fit again but the worst is over and I no longer have cancer!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

All Systems Go!

5 April 2017

Yesterday I received a letter from Leicester General Hospital giving me details of my admission.

Tomorrow I will be attending a pre-admission assessment that starts at 1:30pm and can last from 2 to 4 hours.  Assuming there are no problems my admission date is Monday 10th April at 7:15am! That means a 5:30 departure from home but we are so pleased that things are moving now and we can now begin to look forward with optimism. I don't know where I am on the list but hope to be early otherwise I will be starving having to fast prior to the operation.

I'll update after the pe-assessment if there is any more significant news.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Meeting the Top Man

21 March 2017

It's been a long time coming but today I'm due to meet the consultant, Mr. Kockelbergh. Sandra has gone to London with Petra and they are meeting up with Emma there. I drop off Petra & Sandra at Grantham Station before making my way to Leicester. Straight forward journey and arrive in plenty of time for a coffee and a Danish before my appointment. Just 5 minutes late getting in and I'm shaking hands with the Top Man.  The first thing he tells me is that the lymph node on my left adrenal gland is benign. We then go on to discuss the lump on my right kidney which, he says, is 90% likely to be cancer. Surprisingly, he then gave me a choice - I could have the whole kidney(and the lump) removed or just a partial kidney removal with the lump.  Apparently at my age (72) I am just on the borderline and if I was 75 he wouldn't have given me the choice - It would have been a full kidney removal. I chose to have the partial kidney removal which will be carried out using a relatively new keyhole surgery procedure using a robot! Mr Kockelburgh has carried out over 30 of these procedures over the past two years so I am pretty confident. He did explain that it will be about 15 years before I get the full benefit but I told him that I'm optimistic about reaching 87!

So now I'm on his list and should only have to wait between 3 and 4 weeks. He said that it will probably be nearer 3 than 4 but we will have to wait and see.  Between 3 and 4 weeks is Easter.

I think that considering I was told at the end of January that I probably have cancer of the kidney, the outcome is very positive.  We are all looking forward to the time after the operation and life can get back to normal.


Friday, 3 March 2017

Leicester General Hospital

Thursday 2 March 2017

Today is the day I hope to find out exactly what we are dealing with and what the treatment plan is.  Sandra and I set off to Leicester at 8:30am for an appointment at 11:05.  The journey should take less than 90 mins but the traffic could be busy.  The A46 was very slow but we didn’t see the reason for it. We arrived at the hospital at about 10ish so after we parked we went for a coffee before going to the clinic.  They took my details at the clinic – very busy with 9 consulting rooms!  I didn’t get in until 12:30ish.  We discussed the mass on my right kidney but he was very concerned about a lymph node near my left adrenal gland.  The scan doesn’t show any detail so it is important to find out exactly what it is.  As a result, I have to go back to Leicester next Wednesday to have another CT scan to identify what it is on my adrenal gland.  Hopefully it will not be significant but whatever it is I can’t do anything to change it.  They have also made a follow-up appointment for 21 March.
After the consultation we had a talk with a specialist nurse to explain all the possible outcomes and to answer any questions we had.  It was a very useful session and I have leaflets and books giving a detailed explanation of everything I need to know.
Just when we thought we were moving forward another problem has arisen that needs sorting out. We remain in limbo for a bit longer but continue to hope for a positive outcome.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

It's not unknown any more

Friday 17th February 2017

The day has finally arrived to discover what all this is about.

The day started with walking the dogs just after 7am - Mornings are getting lighter much earlier now. Back home - Change into my running gear and off for another stage of working up to a 5K run again.  Half an hour later I'm back for breakfast. Sandra is out with our friend Ann and I'm just pottering about killing time.  After lunch Sandra pops out again and I have a shower. Just dried and dressed and I ge a phone call from my consultants secretary - My immediate thought was that my appointment was cancelled - Could I get to the hospital for an earlier appointment - 4pm instead of 5:20pm.  I phoned Sandra who came straight home - A quick walk with the dogs and an early dinner for them.  We had an hour to get to the hospital and we needed just about all of it - The traffic was horrendous but we made it with 5 minutes to spare. Eventually we were shown into a consulting room to be met by Mr Varadaray (Raj) who explained the results of my CT scan.

I had cancer on the base of my right kidney - about 4cm in diameter. This type of cancer grows at about 1cm per year so there is a good chance that it has been growing there for 4 years!  The good news is that there is a recognised procedure for dealing with this. My case has been referred to Leicester Hospital which is the Centre of Excellence for this operation. It will probably be keyhole surgery where the cancer and part of my kidney will be removed - Then that's it - Job done!  Maximum stay in hospital likely to be 3 days but could be just overnight.  No chemotherapy or radiotherapy required but regular check ups and scans for up to 5 years.

To say we were relieved doesn't do it justice - we were really really chuffed - It felt like we were walking on air on our way back to the car.

So now we know what we are dealing with.  Leicester will discuss my case next Thursday and I should hear from them soon afterwards.

So all in all a good result with a positive outlook for the future - It could have been so much worse.

We are down in Sussex for a few days for Emma's Birthday - More news as it comes.

Saturday, 11 February 2017


Saturday 11th February 2017

Since my CT scan last Sunday, we have been waiting for an appointment to see the Consultant. Well, we are a little nearer to knowing what we are dealing with - I had an appointment in the post today for next Friday 17th February at 5:20pm.

We are still no nearer knowing what 'it' is but at least we know when we'll find out.

Despite everything, we are trying to live a normal life.  I have no pain - no symptoms - I feel good.  I am constantly aware of all the possibilities but at this stage it is what it is and I can't change that.

Emma came to stay with us for a couple of days which was great - we've had a meal celebrating Petra & Mac's wedding anniversary - I've played bowls (and won!) - I've started running again.

Last August I started a running programme "Couch Potato to 5K in 8 Weeks" and I was running (and walking) every couple of days until I reached the ultimate aim of Running 5K in 35 mins. The last time I went running was in October and then it became too cold and I felt I had achieved what I started.  Now I have started again and it feels great - not necessarily when I'm running but when I've finished and can see what I have achieved.

Now we have got another weeks wait but I will let you know as soon as I know anything.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Bridge Climb and Cafe Sydney

Wednesday 8th February 2017

Today is the day I was supposed to be climbing to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. I had booked it well in advance because it is a very popular event but when I found out that we couldn't go the cancellation process was easy and straight forward and the £175 is back on my card.

Our daughters and their families - that is : Petra, Emma, Mac, Nick, Caitlin and Luke booked a meal for us on the Outside Terrace at the Cafe Sydney tonight for our Golden Wedding. We thank you all - It would have been magnificent and we are so disappointed not to be able to be there. 

No news yet but I expect to have an appointment at Lincoln County Hospital sometime this week.