More good news this week. My RIG got taken out. After three months of having to put up with a length of plastic tubing sticking out of my abdomen, I got called in to Clinic D at the hospital where a nurse I’d met back in radiotherapy leant over my wheelchair, deflated the balloon in my stomach and all in a trice yanked the tube free.
To be honest it felt a bit like being punched in the guts. The nurse said it was only my stomach going into spasm, just relax. I tried, and as promised, the feeling passed. She dressed the wound, I thanked her, and I was out of there licketysplit.
And I’m now, to my considerable relief, able to sleep on my side, not all the time on my back as I’ve had to since May. The wound looks a bit odd. Apart from the dried blood, most of all it seems now almost as if I’ve got two navels. Which, if it stays that way, will be odd. But also, the dressing keeps falling off. My new navel seems to be in a place where sticky things won’t stick.
The nurses come round twice a week though, bustling about in their Hattie Jacques way, cleaning and dressing and tidying things up, including my rapidly healing wound. I try to get them to share horror stories of other patients they’ve seen, but unfortunately, despite my saying they’re welcome to tell anyone anything about me, they all seem to stick to their infuriating confidentiality policy.
But I’ve also been back to the dietitians, who weighed me and found I’d lost a couple of kilos. So I’m not far off eight and a half stone now, and it’s a long time since I was that light. However, and as I was at pains to tell the diet police, I am beginning to eat more. It’s been a battle to actually get through three meals a day, but in the last week, maybe inspired by the sight of Michael Phelps’ gigantic breakfasts, I’ve managed it on a majority of days. Even though portion sizes may not have been great, and certainly not as great as Michael’s.
They did come up with some helpful advice though. Like trying Weetabix with extra milk for breakfast, having moist fillings such as tuna and mayo for lunch on lightly toasted bread with the crusts cut off, and tinned fruit with custard for afters. Then they said why not add marscapone to tomato based sauces to take the astringency away, and give extra moist scrambled eggs with smoked salmon a go. So I’m doing all those things, as well as throwing myself into rice noodles, quorn, avocado, white sauces with extra herbs.
I must have been getting a bit over-excited. But then they told me I could get worse again before I really get better. Apparently it’s qute common for things to be going swimingly and then you can get a big setback, with a return of some of the worst symptoms. Well all I can do is hope that doesn’t happen. But at least I should be prepared if it does.
Now, I have to say I’ve been very encouraged by responses to this blog. Firstly by the volume of views (now well over 800) but also by the nice comments people have made. And then there are the gifts of ‘soft’ food, which have been much appreciated. Less welcome have been the offers of Proclaimers CDs.
Hopefully the worst is well over now. I’m aware I have a way to go in terms of stamina and fitness; I’m still sleeping a lot and I do feel weak at times. Then there’s my stubble growth. anywhere near to where the radiotherapy beam went doesn’t seem to want to sprout, so I only get bristles above and below the lips, oh and fortunately where the Bradleys are.