Six weeks since my operation and I am beginning to feel more normal, whatever normal means. The other day was beautiful and warm, unseasonably so for mid October, it could easily have been the end of August and so we went a little further afield for me to take my daily walk. I left Sharon at the cathedral in Wells, Somerset, put on my old faithful walking boots, a light backpack with a couple of drinks inside and went for a proper walk across fields and country lanes. I followed a pre-planned route of just over four miles at a nice comfortable pace which included a few slight ascents and descents. I wasn’t rushing and didn’t get out of breath so my blood iron must be getting back to it’s correct level. I’m a long way of a fifteen mile hike on the Welsh Coast Path that I am used to doing but I was really chuffed with myself and it felt so good to be out and walking. Every day I am fitter than the day before and the last hurdle, the follow up appointment with the surgeon is in a couple of days time.
I’m not sure if I feel nervous but it is a strange sort of calm, the sort of calm where there is a very slight niggling disquiet at the edge of my thoughts. The clinic nurse has led us into the consulting room and we wait for the surgeon to arrive. I already know, in as much as I can know anything that the lump that was removed together with the perforation and adhesions, was not cancerous. It was a benign tumour, a limpoma, a growth of fatty cells somewhere they shouldn’t be. The team looking after me were 99 percent sure of this before the operation and had told me as much, so this is what I know. Histology, that close microscopic examination of the cells and tissues for signs of malignancy, is just a routine protocol after any surgery like mine. Nothing nasty could possibly have been found or I would have been told by now. It would have been long before this six week follow up appointment that I would have been called in for further treatment. If this is what I know, why do I feel this anxious tension beginning to build as we wait? I think that when I decided to except all that was happening to me, I mentally surrendered to circumstances and therefore I had put complete trust in my surgeon. I am now waiting to see him and not one of his team because I realise I need a conclusive, definitive answer to this tiny remaining doubt, from him alone. He does not disappoint. He sits down, places my notes on his desk and delivers the categorical assurance I needed. He knew that this was the information I wanted to hear first, before anything else. The tension I had been feeling must have been far more than I consciously realised as my relief was substantial.
I have passed this final exam with flying colours. All is healing as expected, everything working as it should, within reason. I tried one of my favourite meals the other day, a chilli con carne, not too hot just a gentle reacquaintance to what I have been missing. I realised fairly quickly that it was too soon for spices, and spent the evening being reprimanded by an irate intestine for my impatience. Other than that, my bowels are being well behaved. I have been given a clean bill of health and released from the care of the hospital. I now am allowed to drive again and lift things as long as they don’t cause excessive strain. Usual activities and all that entails can resume without fear of causing any damage. I am advised that after another week or so I can gradually return to work. It would seem this nasty hiccup, this unexpected diversion in the normal journey through life is drawing to end. I am nearly back on track, nearly well, put back together and whole again except of course now missing around a foot of my large intestine, which as it had been causing all of my symptoms, I’m glad to be without.