Archive for May, 2010

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Sunshine

May 31, 2010

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1 Month

May 31, 2010

Saturday marked one month since Andy’s surgery.

His wound is healing really well, with the exception of a section at the top where the staples were put in badly (it’s also under more tension there) He’s also managing the daily changes of the bag really well and the stoma’s shrunk down to about 34mm. We’ve only had one major leak – which was the fault of the velcro on his shorts and not the bag itself! (Loving Vanish carpet cleaner!)

I’m so incredibly proud of him for the way he has reacted to the surgery and the pouch. In all the drama of the cancer diagnosis I think the ileostomy has been pushed to the side somewhat, he’s just got on and dealt with it. And we’re enjoying the amazing freedom that it brings – we went for a picnic and leisurely walk on Monday for the first time, no worrying about finding a toilet, no stress about eating and not going straight home afterwards.

He’s a bit amazing really!!!

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This week brings an appointment with the oncologist tomorrow – he will then schedule in a CT scan for sometime this/next week. Please pray really hard that this comes back completely clear – we do not want any more cancerous lesions! We also have to try and track down Andy’s blood work that was done in the hospital – otherwise he has to have yet another full HIV/Hepatitis check before our ‘visit’ to the sperm bank at University College Hospital. This involves going through the QE2 switchboard – NOT fun. 90% of the time no-one even picks up. I might go down to the hospital tomorrow afternoon and find them in person!

On Saturday we are off on a short holiday for 3 nights to the Suffolk coast – really looking forward to it… yay for the beach!!

Ses

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A quiet week from a medical point of view

May 31, 2010

Having spent the past two months in and out of doctors surgeries and hospitals it was nice to have a quiet week with no significant medical visits to speak of! I’ve been to my local doctors practice twice for nurse appointments to change the dressing and monitor the wound, but they haven’t thrown up anything major and the wound is healing well. There’s one section at the top that’s opened up due to it being under lots of tension and it’s also the point where it’s been leaking which has meant it’s been moist and didn’t heal while the staples were in (the following link is a picture of the open bit so be warned it’s quite graphic! click here ). Over the past few days it’s started healing well though and now has the beginning layers of skin forming.

The week started amazingly with Geoff coming round and dropped off a collection from several of the people from church which is amazing and will be spent on the ostomy armour from the US which includes a kevlar/carbon fibre stoma protector and kevlar reinforced bag cover. That should mean I can keep downhill biking without the worry of crashing hurting the stoma or tearing the bag! We also had a couple of people from the prayer team come round, we had a good pray and they had some good positive words and pictures which was nice.

Last weekend we had the family up for Mum’s birthday. Andy came round and gave us a hand cutting the grass beforehand due to the council being rubbish. Cheers Sherlock! We had a very enjoyable day with Mum, Dad, Sarah, Gordon and Rob all sampling Gordon’s tasty BBQ cooking. Sarah also did a lot of the other food which took the strain off us hosting too much, thanks big sis! They also brought along some boules which made for some entertaining games on our far from regulation lawn, with many comedy bounces on the bumpy surface.

We’ve been out several times including a picnic and walk round Stanborough lakes, several trips into town, watching Gaz’s team win at cricket up at Essendon and a nice meal out in Ask in town! All in all it’s been a good week and I checked with the insurance people today and they’ve said I can drive now so that’s another positive.

and finally……….

Whilst being able to eat whatever you want whenever sounds great it’s starting to get difficult to remember to eat ALL the time! I’m trying hard to keep my food intake up and finding slim fast on a half price offer in boots helps as that’s essentially an additional meal (I have it with full fat milk rather than skimmed). I’m finally digging into the easter chocolate supplies, having missed out on eating my easter chocolate at the time due to the stomach cramps etc, I’m making up for lost time now!

Andy

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Staples and Stitches are out

May 22, 2010

Having had the news about the blockage being cancer that trumped the other news that on Monday morning I had the staples taken out of the wound.  It was an interesting experience, not really painful, just more uncomfortable with a bit of pulling.  Most of the wound looked good, but there is a section at the top which hasn’t healed yet and is slightly gaping apart, but I’ve been assured by the nurse that this is normal and there isn’t any infection, so it will heal but just needs more time (this is one of the side effects of the steroids I’m on is that things take longer to heal).

I’d also been getting some discomfort and irritation in a couple of places around the stoma where the flange of the bag was interacting with the tails of the stitches in the stoma.  So at yesterday’s stoma check up the stoma nurse removed the stitches which was such a relief as I hadn’t realised how much they had been pulling etc so the bag is now a lot more comfortable when it’s been on for a few hours.

We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by all the support we’ve had the whole way through me being ill but especially over the past few days since we found out about the cancer.  I’ve had lots of visitors and have got a busy day today with some people coming over from church to pray, followed by a couple of the guys I lived with at uni who are coming up from the Woking area for the afternoon and some food.

Things have also been moving on with arranging things for chemo, I’ve got the appointment sorted for having my portacath fitted.  The wheels are also in motion for me to make a deposit at the sperm bank, it’s more of a precaution as the chemo drugs I’ll be on aren’t likely to affect my fertility but there’s always a slight risk, so better be safe than sorry!  I’ve also got my private appointment sorted with the oncologist where I should also have a chest CT scan to make sure there aren’t any lesions anywhere else (the oncologist reviewed my abdominal ct and didn’t find any which is good news as the liver is usually one of the first places it spreads to).

I’m still eating 4 meals a day with lots of snacking in between, so am starting to have enough energy to do a few more things.  Yesterday I was out the house for a couple of hours, with the stoma appointment at the QEII, then into town to do a bit of shopping and buy some bits for the BBQ today and bought a new shirt as I’ve been living in the same two for the past week!  I also had a nice sit in the sun in the back garden and had a few friends come over to see me.  It was probably my busiest day so far and although I was tired in the evening it felt good to have done  a lot.  I’ve also noticed that my cheeks are looking a lot less drawn and gaunt, so I think I must be putting some weight back on.  I forgot to weigh myself first thing this morning but I think I’m around the 10 stone mark now so am slowly putting the weight back on.  I’m really looking forward to the wound being healed now and starting to do some gentle exercise to get some of the muscles back in my legs at least!  My arms haven’t wasted to the same extent as my legs as I was still using them whilst in hospital, whereas the days spent laying in a bed have meant my legs have just wasted away.

And finally……….

Yesterday’s 2 hour trip out the house was the first time I’ve really been able to benefit from having the bag and the predictability that it brings over the ulcerative colitis, and the thought of possibly needing the loo at short notice.  It was so nice to be able to wander around town and not have to worry about where the nearest toilet was and know that I had plenty of time to find one should I need to.  It was quite a liberating experience, having lived with the constant worry of finding a toilet when out somewhere for the past 9 years, being able to wander around without that worry was so nice!

Andy

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Amusement

May 20, 2010

This comes up on our blog stats page – it made us laugh!

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The Next Step

May 19, 2010

We met with the onocologist this morning – the NHS can be madly efficient in times of crisis!

Because of Andy’s BUPA insurance it means chemo will happen at home instead of 2 days in hospital every 2 weeks. He will have a line put into his chest and every two weeks we’ll go to Bushey, they’ll hook him up and we go home. Then 48 hours later we’ll go back and they’ll unhook him.

He’ll also have access to better drugs to control the side effects which is wonderful. The oncologist is confident that life will continue as normal outside the treatments, as long as he’s not having the horrible tingling in his hands and feet he can go to work and go biking/running as normal. This is really wonderful news as we were worried he’d have to be at home being ‘sick’ for months. And we don’t have to worry about all of our savings disappearing. And I can go back to uni part time next term.

Other pieces of good news were that he won’t lose his hair, and his fertility is unlikely to be affected long term. But we’ll still freeze his sperm just to be sure.

There is so much to be thankful for today. Praise God for His faithfulness, I have never felt His peace like this before. He is good!!

Ses

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The C Word

May 18, 2010

We went to see the surgeon yesterday. Andy has cancer.

Whilst they believe they got most of it out when they removed his bowel, it’s aggressive, so may / probably will spread. Chemo starts in a month, the aim of that is to kill the cells before they start to multiply too much. We are seeing the onocologist tomorrow who will give us more information. We won’t know more until they have done more tests & scans.

This is going to be a long, hard road. It will not be easy to beat, but we will beat it.

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~Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow~

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If you are of the praying persuasion (hey, even if you’re not, give it a go!) here are some more detailed prayer requests:

PRAISE God for this experience – for the way it is drawing us closer to each other and cementing our marriage. We, like many newly-weds, are probably guilty of leaning too much on each other and not enough on God – this is forcing us to rely totally on His grace and that, I believe, is another reason for praise.

Pray that through this experience God will use us to minister to those around us, that the peace we receive can tell of His love.

Pray for healing. I believe in miracles, I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, I believe that Andy can be totally healed.

Pray for us and the doctors as we make decisions together about the best courses of treatment. We meet with the oncologist tomorrow and whilst that will be scary, I hope it will be constructive and give us a sense of what to expect.

Remember our God is a God of Love and of Peace. These things do not come as attacks from God, they are not punishments for sin. We live in broken bodies, in a broken world and bad things happen. But that doesn’t mean we can’t turn them around to glorify our Father.

Finally, please pray for a really awesome summer together. Yeah, we’re going to have horrible chemo weeks, but we’ll also have healthy, well ones, and they’re going to be great!

Please feel free to share this link with anyone you know who likes praying for people!

Thank you for all your support and love so far, we’ll be needing it for a little while longer yet!! Your help is invaluable.

Ses xxx