It’s now just on two months since I headed up to London for major surgery to remove a massive GIST stomach tumour – and with it, the whole of the stomach itself, along with the spleen. I’m pleased to report that my recovery has been excellent: everybody from the surgeon down to my local GP, has expressed amazement at the speed of my recovery. Life in nearly all respects, is now almost back to normal: I’ve even resumed part-time work, for just a (very) few hours a week. I’m deeply grateful to the host of friends and supporters who supported me through this time, with prayers, candles and Masses, from at least four continents that I know of. I’m convinced that this wave of support carrying me had something to do with that rapid recovery.
The disruption to my life caused by this, with frequent medical appointments and associated anxiety has been partly responsible for my much reduced activity here at QTC, over the past few months in particular. Now, I’m pleased to say, I’m “Back in the saddle, again”.
However, there’s another, more serious reason for my slowdown – and for getting back in that saddle.
I had a phone call today from my specialist nurse at Royal Surrey, with the decision taken by the MDT (multidisciplinary team) that’s been assessing my innards, after my most recent CT scan. I’m summoned to the hospital for a Monday meeting with the senior stomach oncologist to discuss the matter, but it seems the essence of the recommendation is to proceed directly to surgery – they’ve already pencilled in a date of 30th September for the op, and an earlier date for pre-operative tests.
I’m not having it, and have told them so. I must be in Rome on the first October for the foundation conference of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics. Somehow, I don’t think they’ll let me fly out the day after major surgery – nor do I think the NHS will cough up for a private air ambulance to Rome. It will be “major” surgery too. Even after the significant shrinkage, the tumour is still pretty big. Anything over 10cm is classified as large (and with it, usually high risk). Mine is down from the original 26 x 20 cm to “only” 18 x 15, which is still much bigger than common or garden “large”.
Ever since I first released news of my tumour, I’ve been overwhelmed by expressions of support and prayers. This has again been the case after writing a little more about it here, earlier this week, with more good wishes for my “recovery”. This seems odd, because even though this thing is technically that dread condition, a cancer – it doesn’t feel that way, at all. In fact, apart from some minor inconvenience, I feel generally much better than I’ve done for months and months.
It’s an extraordinary experience to be told, quite unexpectedly, that you have cancer – or in my case, maybe not. (Is a GIST cancer? That depends on who you speak to). I’ve learned a lot about the condition over the last eight months, including the terminology.
For some months now, I’ve not been nearly as active here as I once was. There are numerous reasons for this. For a long time, I’ve been trying to reassess my priorities and core aim with the site. Was I really wanting to put the bulk of me energy into a regular commentary on the daily news cycle, which in practice is what I had been doing, or a more permanently useful storehouse of resources for LGBT Catholics and other Christians, as I originally set out to do? Continue reading Personal Deviations: Medical, Technical, Familial, Travel and Political.→