You’ll be alright, duck!

Riding through Sherwood Forest on the bus yesterday, I sat in silence. My daughter had kindly accompanied me for the day but as the bus hurtled back towards Nottingham city centre,Β  I didn’t feel like chatting. My mind was still trying to come to terms with the news I’d just heard. I have to return for more surgery again. The adventures of Robin Hood Steph continue.

Image085

My return to see the head and neck specialist in the UK was arranged by my surgeon in Ireland. More expert advice is needed to manage the recurrent infections in my head. I was previously referred to the same specialist two years ago for major surgery to stamp out a chronic osteomyelitis in the frontal bone of my head. This operation was very successful but over the last year, I’ve had intense bouts of pain in the bone around my right eye and repeated infections which antibiotics have failed to control.

When the specialist looked at my CT scan yesterday, the cause of the pain soon became apparent. An abnormal pocket has developed in the bone deep behind my eye and close to the brain. The thickened bone has split causing an abscess to form. Complex surgery is required to take away the infected bone and relieve the pressure behind my eye. Unfortunately, this will require image guided surgery and means a referral to yet another surgeon in the same specialist unit. I will have to return to Nottingham again shortly to meet with the new surgeon and have specialized scans in advance of surgery.

This outcome is not at all what I’d anticipated. I had hoped that the recent scan might offer some welcome reassurance but it was not to be. I’m still reeling today from the news and not helped by a nasty head cold which has left my ears blocked following the flights. The good news is that I’m in fantastic hands so no worries there. The surgeons are the tops, I couldn’t hope for better. The impending surgery while complex, is minor compared to the some of the stuff I’ve been through. As they say in Nottingham, “You’ll be alright, duck!”

Image source: Camera phone en route to appointment.

13 Responses to You’ll be alright, duck!

  1. Grannymar says:

    At least now you have answers and are beeing seen by the right people.

  2. Annb says:

    Oh Steph I’m so sorry. It’s really hard to digest these knockbacks but hopefully, once you can, pardon the pun, get your head round it πŸ˜‰ the long term picture will mean a better quality of life for you. I’ll get Rory to blow you a kiss – they work wonders for me!

  3. Steph, sorry the news wasn’t easier. It is helped to some little extent when you can have confidence in your specialist. Good luck. I like your blog

  4. Nancy says:

    Hello Steph,

    I am sorry you didn’t get better news from the doctor in Nottingham. I would love to be able to say something funny and clever to make you smile but that is not to be today.

    As GM said,at least you are being seen by the right people and I will be hoping they can “Fix you up” as good as new as soon as possible.

    You certainly have the right spirit,Steph, and a positive attitude and they seem to be the very things you need to make a complete recovery.

    Yes, you’ll be alright,Duck….

  5. Mona says:

    It is amazing how much you live through. I’m sorry to hear the knockbacks, but I am really glad I found this blog.

  6. Steph says:

    Thanks to one and all for your kind responses! It’s really great to get your support right now. Sorry not to respond individually tonight.

    And to Mona – Welcome! I hope I don’t scare you off again with all this talk of surgery πŸ˜‰

    I had a 45 minute telephone consultation this evening with the new surgeon who will carry out my operation. Frankly, I was amazed to receive his call but feel much happier now that we’ve had a detailed discussion. The surgery looks fairly imminent (date to be confirmed in next few days) and will be carried out in the same NHS specialist centre where I had my last operation. I will be admitted to the hospital the day before surgery to undergo preparatory scans, scoping and consultation with the surgical team. This means that I won’t have to travel over to Nottingham in the interim which is good news. I find the day trips very long and arduous. The other great bit of news tonight is that the surgeon is hoping to complete the surgery endoscopically (through the nose) as it will be ‘image-guided’. As I’ve already had open surgery 5 times around my eye and once through the top of my skull, I’m relieved to get this reprieve. The post-operative phase sounds a bit complicated (I’ll spare you the gorey details) but we’ll cope with that as it happens. Re-constructive surgery may be required at a later stage.

    So now you know. I hope this doesn’t cause anyone nightmares. Please don’t worry unnecessarily. I’m a fighter and I’m gonna be alright, Duck! πŸ˜€

  7. Knipex says:

    Steph

    I read the post and replies feeling worse and worse for you and then I read your last reply…

    Glad to see things are on the up and hopefully this surgery will be the last.

  8. Baino says:

    Not the greatest news but now you know what’s causing these damned infections. I’m glad you were reassured and hopefully once done,you won’t ever have this problem again. Hearts out to you Steph.

  9. Steph says:

    Hi! Knipex

    It’s a constant dilemma for me as to how much to disclose when writing about my medical experiences here. I do my best to give a balanced picture so as not to cause undue worry. My hope is that readers can make sense of my journey as it evolves. Feedback is a real bonus.

    I’m actually in a good place right now. In the space of a week, I’ve received definitive diagnoses for two very different problems. I’ve also received superb medical support and guidance. Treatment is falling into place and I’ve reason to be hopeful again. I really can’t complain.

    Baino – It’s been all ‘go’ here today. I’ve been tackling the issue of funding for the op. We have to be able to prove to my insurance company that the surgery is not available in Ireland – it’s not! My Irish surgeon was delighted to hear that I’ve been offered this particular form of surgery and will back me 100% for funding. We have to get prior approval from a medical panel before the op can proceed or else cover is automatically refused. When I applied for overseas funding in 2007, I was initially refused on ridiculous grounds but won out in the end. The patient’s welfare doesn’t enter into the equation, it’s all about money saving decisions. This time round, I’m not prepared to take any flak and if I have to go and bash their door down, I will!

  10. Jeanie says:

    Go Steph! Fight for your rights! Good to read news of impending op. Nerve-wracking though. Loving thoughts flying through the air from NZ xx

  11. Steph says:

    Jeanie – Lovely to hear from you as always πŸ™‚

    I’m sorry to worry you. You may find it helps to think of the surgery as a lifeline. If I’d been told last Tuesday that surgery was not possible, I’d be in real trouble. As it stands, I’ve been offered hope for the future and I’m happy to accept that offer whatever it takes.

  12. Geri Atric says:

    Good luck to you Steph. As you say, surgery is possible (thank goodness) and will be done by excellent surgeons (no quacks!).
    Take care duck. xxx

  13. Steph says:

    Geri – Hello and thanks for your support!

    Life is a bit ‘quackers’ right now. I’m having to paddle very fast to keep up! πŸ˜€

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