Picture the scene; one minute I’m fast asleep in bed, the next I’m shocked awake having landed elbow first on the floor with my face smashed into a basket of toiletries. Bang. I hadn’t just rolled out mistakenly; there’s a sixth sense that stops you doing that. I think I’d been dreaming and had leapt out. I have this recurring dream that I’m being attacked by a gang of people armed to the gills with axes, machetes, knives, hammers etc and I have to fight them off night after night. And I always just about do that but often I have to leap out of the way of a slashing blade. I’m sure that’s what was going on when I leapt subconsciously from my bed. There’s probably some deep psychological issue waiting to be explored but it can wait. Anyway I didn’t die of shock, obviously, but I did give myself quite a start plus a scratch or two to the face and one pretty sore elbow.
Regular readers might remember that on a trip down to Italy a few years ago I somehow managed to get pleurisy on the drive down and spent a coupled days in Como hospital getting it under control. The doctors reckoned that spending 8 hours cooped up in an air-conditioned car might have been the cause. It turned out to be a traumatic trip which you can read here if you’re interested but it’s a sad story. I got over the pleurisy but I remember the painful discomfort all too well. So what? you ask. Well a week or so ago after our first long drive in months to go and see daughter Becksy in London I started to get this hurting feeling in my chest and back which slowly got more uncomfortable as the week wore on, not helped by a second longish drive to visit Becksy on Sunday, lovey as it was to see her. I woke up yesterday morning and after a really troublesome night’s sleep I thought I’d better get it checked out. I called my GP and she advised me to go to Horton hospital A&E straight away as it could be covid-related or a heart issue or a return of something more sinister. Oh lord.
Today would have been my youngest brother’s 60th birthday, sadly we lost him very suddenly and shockingly 3 years ago after he was diagnosed with incurable cancer. The same cancer as I had. My lovely sister, the baby of the family, is currently undergoing really difficult treatment for a nasty form of spinal cancer. She’s managing the situation with courage and lots of strength. My dad in his late 80’s had a procedure to remove a cancer spot only recently. My wife’s sister and brother have both overcome having the disease and her niece has similarly come through the experience successfully. Yesterday we spoke with a dear dear friend who is recovering from having a major operation to remove cancer and in a week or so’s time she’ll resume her chemo treatment. The operation went as well as could be hoped and we’re crossing everything that the prognosis remains entirely positive and her recovery continues totally. It’s a horrible horrible disease but I’m in awe of the work that the NHS does in helping people deal with it. I know they get lots of stuff wrong and I’m the first to complain when their admin is hopeless, they postpone procedures at the drop of a hat, and keep you waiting endlessly. But they saved my life at least 3 times and many people we know have cause to thank them too. I wanted to post something uplifting to celebrate people fighting and winning their battles with cancer but wanted to avoid something mushy like ‘You raise me up’. I thought this might be approriate especially since anyone who’s had to spend the night on a hospital ward knows, no-one sleeps…
Last week in August we headed down to Italy for a week’s break to get some hard work done on the house before the winter. Regular readers will know there’s usually a bloody drama with our visits but this time there was no sense of looking back afterwards and smiling wistfully.
Well I think most people will have twigged by now from the occasional asides I’ve been dropping into recent postings that I was diagnosed with cancer a couple of months ago. Bummer eh. Anyway 7am tomorrow I’m off to hospital for surgery to remove the carcinoma from my bowel and any surrounding tissues. Then 6 months of chemotherapy beckons. I’ve had lots of cards, calls and texts today from friends and family wishing me well which is very kind. Then tonight a pleasant evening’s few drinks and meal at the infamous Anglers with my family. None for me of course. Continue reading
Medical update…….Gary Neville’s first punditry footballing words; ‘be careful what you wish for’. He was talking about a new manager. It’s so banal but so relevant to my own situation.
I had a sigmoidoscopy a week or so ago. I was reminded of Gary’s words before I spoke to the registrar yesterday after she’d consulted on my stomach problem. I was delighted to be told I didn’t have diverticulitis as I really didn’t fancy the idea of having that as an ongoing problem. The downside is I do have something else and I’m guessing it’s not good. And now I need a CT scan and another invasive filmic examination up my back passage, this time to the far far reaches of my colon. Oh deep, deep joy. A slightly inflamed bowel lining seems like a not-too-bad condition now I think about it.
I’m not trying to anticipate what the prognosis might be but here’s the deal. I know I inherited my father’s hair gene. The one which resulted in near baldness at 30. Thanks Dad. But is that the worst that can happen in life? Of course not. Believe it or not full-headed readers but being shaven-headed is massively more appealing to me than struggling with creeping baldness (though a lot of frigging extra shaving work).
My dad and his forbears I forgive. I can live without hair. The problem is that I have more than likely inherited my mother’s Smith family gene for susceptibility to cancer. It’s taken my mum, her brother and sister and own mother. I don’t know for sure as yet but I kind of suspect it given the coded language in which I’m being spoken to and the almost menstruating quality of my early morning sessions on the loo. Sorry to be so graphic readers. Would it have been so bad to have been blessed with my mum’s luxurious hair gene and Bob’s mild stomach issues? Lawdy where were you when it came to overseeing my family’s natural selection processes eh? I think the Great Architect must have had his back turned sorting out those pesky Yorkies when the Lancashire Smith family genome was being assembled.
Hey ho. Another bulletin this time next week folks
As well as being one of my grandson’s favourite current phrases, perversely meaning that something’s actually rather good, in old-speak it’s also a literal way to describe my situation and our household’s over the last week or so. And it kicks off chillingly with my daughter R. Continue reading
Is it just us or has every household had its fill of winter colds etc this Xmas? We’ve been pretty lousy with it for days. My daughter R’s been the worst; she’s had a terribly sore throat and incessant cough which has prevented her from sleeping properly for nearly a week now. I took her to the doctors two days but they prescribed nothing for her but recommended sleeping sat upright and having her head over a bowl of steam. Not especially helpful particularly as she was very nearly sick in the waiting room after a coughing session. I’ve had a streaming head cold which has been truly annoying. It’s not so bad now but I’ve one really sore nose through all the wiping. Really sore. Go on, I know what you’re thinking, pathetic men. True.