Round Five: Back in Surgery

Today is, I hope, my last surgery for… ever (or at least a very long time).

It’s the fifth invasive procedure in less than five years, more than most people have in a lifetime but less than some of my friends. The running order will be something like this:

  • Check in to hospital, lose sense of direction in highly convoluted corridor system with random signage.
  • Regain sense of direction after glancing sign for the ward next to the one I need to find.
  • Check in to ward, sit in waiting area for a while.
  • Fidget… boredom is setting in and the chairs could be more comfortable.
  • Get called by Miss M. Expose torso and get some nice green lines drawn across the target area. Miss M. says  she hopes to create a new breast after removing the original, but warns if something goes awry I may wake up without it.
  • Go to allocated bed, change into hospital gown leaving little to the imagination. It’s very short and needs to be tied at the front.
  • Meet anaesthetist, discuss teeth, breathing and open mouth for inspection, rather like they do with horses to see if they’re worth buying or not.
  • Wait a bit more.
  • Get called to theatre and ride on a trolley. This has the potential for lots of fun, except we’re on our way to theatre.
  • Enter the antechamber. Everything is white and shiny like a Colgate advert. Anaesthetist approaches and begins the hunt for veins.
  • There are two pathways at this point. (1) hunt for veins successful and they start injecting sleepy drugs. (2) hunt for veins unsuccessful, I’ve passed out and they’re reviving me before they try again. I always hope for route (1).
  • Various slicing, splicing, trimming and stitching goes on as Miss M works her magic for c.4-5 hours.
  • Someone is calling my name. I open my eyes to find myself in another Colgate advert.
  • I can vaguely see other people on trolleys but they look like enormous sausages because I haven’t got my glasses on.
  • Pain control drugs are regulated and my head spins… I am reminded of the all reasons I’ll never become an illegal opiate user.
  • A bit of shivering goes on and I try to answer questions but my voice is hoarse. The staff are good at lip reading and another blanket is placed over me.
  • Miss M. whizzes by to confirm how it all went.
  • I’m wheeled to a different place in the ward and lifted into bed as I’m incapable of getting into it unaided. I am reminded of all the reasons I need to stay fit and healthy so as not to become a burden for others.
  • I eventually regain enough wherewithal to realise I have space boots on my legs regularly inflating and deflating. They’re noisy. Someone has to release me from them if I need to get out of bed.
  • I’m fully awake and realise I have matching accessories – a couple of surgical drains to add to the drip and space boots.

Fingers crossed it will all go to plan and I’ll be back at home in a few days 🙂


Walking downhill is easier, but the view is always better at the top :-)

We move mountains by carrying them away stone by stone.


8 thoughts on “Round Five: Back in Surgery

  1. You are inspirational, that you can find so much humour in such a an operation. I do hope it all goes well… think of the colgate look, as clean in the NHS these days that it is an achievement. I’m just coming back to normality after a battle with Tax, which I only just won. .. now on 4 weeks radiotherapy. Take care and do keep writing. I hope the writing helps you as much as it does others have you thought of writing a book about your experiences. When I was told I had to have chemo , so many people, told me how their friend said it was a walk in the park. I felt like a wimp for feeing so grim until I read your story. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Liz. So pleased to hear you came through TAX, but sorry it was as much of a headache for you as it was for me. I guess we’re all different and get different side effects. I suspect time and distance may well put a slightly rose coloured tint on the past – the mind has a way of converting bad memories to something a little more palatable on reflection, which is why I wrote the side effects page shortly after finishing treatment… but not too long to have rewritten history. I also think there’s quite a lot of media hype about chemo being a walk in the park which makes people think they have to say it’s ok (or else be seen as weak or inferior). In my mind chemo is ok, a necessary treatment, but that doesn’t equate to a fun or enjoyable experience! I wish you a speedy recovery from radiotherapy and plenty of happy, healthy times ahead xoxox


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