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Wednesday 6 November 2013
So another trip down the A12 in the pouring rain, luckily to Chelmsford, which is considerably nearer than Basildon to see the wonderful Mr Ramakrishnan, the plastic surgeon at St Andrews. When I say pouring rain, I mean pouring rain.
The operation is set for 27th November, unless the either of the two more critical cases in front of me are cancellations. It is an all day operation and they have set aside 8-10 hours for it. The main worry is any damage to the subclavian artery (and yes, I did have to stand with my back to the computer and strain to look round to check I had the right one!), which is being crushed by the cancer just now and we can't see. Veins are easy (apparently) and any patch up and repairs can be done using the ones in my thighs. Arteries require the specialist surgeons and there is a chance that it might be too badly damaged.
Nerve damage is also a major possibility, as I explained before. The nerves might be so badly damaged that I may still feel pain or even nothing at all after the operation.
I need to keep the hand warm and moving, through any pain, as much as possible, between now and the operation, to keep it alive. However, there is a distinct possibility that the operation may fail and I may have a dead hand anyway.
If I do not have this operation, I will have to have my arm amputated, most likely, in the next few weeks anyways.
Those are the downsides.
I twinkled at him, smiled and thought you don't know just how optimistic I am.
Removing the cancer should be easy and I may get better use of my arm. I may get to keep my arm. Pain is manageable. I have no one armed shirts. Plenty of spare veins in my legs. Arteries schmarteries. Wearing gloves and going to google to see if there is some kind of tens machine I can wear to keep the hand moving….
Then he made me giggle. He said he needed to see my tummy. He was pleased with my tummy. Usually reconstructive surgery on patients who have been on chemo as long as me can be difficult because weight loss is a problem. Roaring with laughter, I told him he'd be pleased for one to have an outlier - I have managed to put on LOADS of weight since I started chemo. I explained that sometimes removing the packaging from food was optional, when Steroid Hunger took over.
I was right. He was pleased with me and took the recommendation of New York Cheesecake, Chips, Mocha and Erica's cake, with double cream and the all-important Blueberry as a very good regime for people having reconstructive surgery. And that everyone should have a Christine, popping in every week. I promised to send him a copy of the FEAST cookbook.
I had not even bothered with my bra today, knowing I was going to be stripping off. I did make him giggle by telling him about the X-Ray guy…..