Day 160. Post op day 28. 

Today was another wound check and an appointment at the dressing clinic. I have started to sit for short periods of time and perch on one cheek in the front seat of the car, as a passenger I hasten to add. Driving is still a way off I think. 

My main concern was that the wound is leaking a bit after I have sat and I’m very conscious of either splitting the wound or it breaking down. 

My surgeon had a good poke around and didn’t seem too concerned but said that I am probably overdoing the sitting. I asked about walking as well and he also said that he feels that I am walking too much!

So, I need to take a ‘step back’ and ‘take it easy’. Not a phrase I am unfamiliar with of late but not one I wanted to hear either. 

He also gave me a further supply of a large dose of anti biotics as he wants to ensure that if there is an infection present he can get rid of it. 

It was also suggested that I give the wound some time each day to ‘air dry’. “Maybe not around the office” he said. He has a very dry sense of humour and often once he’s left the room you think to yourself ‘was that a joke’…..

He wants to try and dry the wound up as he says it’s a little moist at the moment. I was very pleased to be told that ‘it’s not that smelly either’. Amazing the things you are told when you’re post op!!!

I came away feeling slightly downhearted as it’s back to standing whilst eating and laying down. Both of which are becoming a little tiresome after a month. 

He also said that there is a lot of healing that needs to take place as I have had surgery and radiotherapy all in the same area and that we’re only four weeks in and that it will take time.  I told him that I was amused by a comment he made in a letter he sent to my oncologist, a copy of which was sent to me.  In this letter he said that he has seen me in clinic and that I was looking well and like “I had had nothing done’.  He reiterated that he thought I was doing OK and coping with everything pretty well.  It is nice to be told this, even if it is just a little ego massaging.

On the journey home I was back to Keystone Cops mode as I laid in the back of the car. 
All of this frustration and annoyance I am feeling was tempered by the news that the journalist Steve Hewlett who was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus died. He was having treatment that was part of a trial and was told that his liver could not withstand any further treatment a couple of weeks ago. 

He took the decision to talk about his diagnosis and shared all of his experiences on radio 4 and also on the BBC Breakfast programme during a special week that they ran focusing on cancer. 

The most moving thing that I heard him say was when he was talking about his family, when he said that when he told them that he was likely to die that “you know what they mean to you but you then see in their eyes what you mean to them”. 

Like me, I don’t think he felt particularly brave but was just getting on with it. Seemed a good guy and what a shame that he’s no longer here. 

So, you see, life is sweet, whatever your circumstance. 

Notwithstanding all of that, I am frustrated and at times like a bear with a sore head, or in my case, backside!  Paula bears the brunt of most of it but continues to be a great support, even little things like picking things up for me when I drop them.  Why is it that you drop so much when picking it up is either painful or impossible??

As I lay here writing this, I still consider myself to be very fortunate and I must do as the medics say, even if it is difficult!

I’m going to leave you with a poem that Nick Robinson, the radio 4 presenter and former BBC political correspondent wrote about his good friend Steve Hewlett, moving stuff.

Take care of each other folks, and tell those that you love, that you love them, every day.

‘One last conversation

So much to say.

So little actually said.

But the pills, the piles of sympathetic letters, the constant flow of visitors said it all

We chat, we gossip, we exchange insights about our shared world.

I’m too British, too male, too stiff upper-lipped to really talk about the fact that it’s a world you and I both know you’ll soon be leaving

To talk about the fact that your “battle” is almost at an end

You “fought” they said.

You’ve been so “brave” they said

Yet you know, I know, anyone who has faced it knows differently

Cancer is not a battle.

There is no choice whether to fight let alone whether to win or lose.

No amount of courage no measure of cowardice can decide the outcome.

There is no virtue in survival. Certainly no lack of it in death.

I lived.

You now know that you will not.

Luck. Chance. Fate. Nothing more. Nothing less.

You didn’t …couldn’t choose

You didn’t …couldn’t decide.

Save, that is, for one thing.

You chose to confront your sickness, your pain, your fear in public

Your decision made thousands realise they were not alone

That really was brave. That a choice that let others know that their sickness, their pain and their fear was not, in fact, just theirs

That one last conversation which was so very worthwhile having.

As I leave you gripped my arm. An unspoken goodbye.

Only now do I know what I should have said.

No one who heard you talk about what you’ve faced will ever forget

Oh yes and one more thing.

Thank you.’

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