Two days after surgery I had a visit from the specialist urologist and his friend the oncologist.
They have news. It’s exciting, I can tell. It’s written all over their faces. The cancer is the biggest one they’ve ever removed, or at least the biggest kidney cancer. It was 17cm across, and weighed 7kg. That’s bigger than a large supermarket chicken, and the weight of two moderate babies.
Typical men: it’s all about size.
But then they explain that the exciting news is that it was all contained within the kidney – none of it had spread to other organs, which is actual, real life good news. They took out an adrenal gland as well, just to be sure, but it looks like surgery has solved the problem.
I no longer have cancer. Now we just have to wait for the histology reports, so we know what type it was, and what chance there is of it returning.
I have to move
I can’t lie around. If I do, my stomach muscles will start to heal in an odd position, and I’ll be permanently warped. Physically, they mean. I’m already mentally and sexually warped.
So 4 nurses carefully ease me into a sitting position, and then I’m gently hauled to my feet. I’m made to stand as straight as I can and told to walk 20 paces. This is easier said than done, and I have to stop for a rest a couple of times. I’ve done 20 paces and I’m exhausted, and need my next morphine dose. But look: I’m 20 paces away from it, and now I have to work out how to turn around and go back.
No more fun
Morphine gives you incredible dreams. Hearing about other people’s dreams is profoundly dull, like being the only blind person at a 2 hour slide show presentation of somebody else’s holiday snaps. So I’ll spare you the details, and simply tell you that at once stage I was flying over 1945 Berlin, dropping sherbet bonbons, which exploded into clouds of sugar. Bonbons featured in a lot of my dreams, and I haven’t had one, seen one or thought about one for 30 years or more.
But the fun is over. I have to come off the morphine now. It’s only 2 days since the operation, but from now on I’m their bitch. Regular walks, marching up and down the ward. And all that waits for me is a cup of tea and a few mild little cocodamol tablets.
And then I’m sent home. Four days later, and just in time for Doctor Who.
The human body is remarkable. They made a 13 inch cut across my belly, hacked their way through me until they reached the back and cut out a vital organ. Two days ago I could hardly walk. Today I got out of bed on my own, showered, dressed, and did 20 laps of the ward. So I don’t need them any more, and I’m going.
Brother came to collect me (girlfriend doesn’t drive). I carried my own bag down to the hospital reception because I couldn’t wait to see the back of that fucking ward. Don’t get me wrong, the staff are amazing and the service is incredible. It’s only a few weeks since I discovered I had a massive cancer, and only 4 days since surgery, and now I’m cured and on my way to my own bed. But by God and Sonny Jesus, I never want to be here again.
I’ve lost 3 stone in weight, although almost 2 stone of that was left on the surgical bed. But I’m fine, and glad to feel the wind on my face as we walk slowly to the car.