A Marathon

I left home on Monday morning for a post-op check-up with the surgeon. My appointment was booked for 4.30pm in Nottingham but thanks to a serious delay at the airport, I was only leaving Dublin at that time. By the time we finally took off, I reckoned that I was probably making a wasted trip. However, luck was on my side and I got to see the doc at 7pm that evening. It was 10pm when I reached my hotel for the night. By the time I crawled into bed, I felt like I’d run a marathon. I’m still waiting for the medal!

My surgeon is a gem and he’s done a fantastic job on my head. He spent at least an hour working on my head endoscopically on Monday evening.  Firstly, he removed the stitches holding the splints in place inside my nose and with a firm yank, out they came one by one.  Not a pleasant sensation but to be honest, I’ve had worse over the years. He then started the process of ‘hoovering’ out the large cavity in the centre of my head. I kept my eyes tightly closed throughout as it was not pleasant. After some time, he asked me to open my eyes and watch the screen behind him. There on the monitor was the inside of my head!  It was incredible, just like the keyhole surgery you see on television. He continued to work on my head, removing a dressing from somewhere deep inside while I watched. It was fascinating stuff. He pointed out large areas of white bone and explained that these are exposed areas of my skull which are healing nicely. At one stage, I told him that I could feel sharp pain on my forehead, up near my hairline.  “That’s exactly where I am”, came the reply.  Gulp! I return in 4 weeks for another session.

One of the side effects of this radical surgery is that I’ve lost all sensation of smell and taste. I was told that it could be a permanent loss. I found this very hard to accept at first but I’m gradually coming to terms with the fact that I can’t smell or taste my beloved coffee and food holds little interest other than filling the stomach. The good news is that since Monday, I’ve had a very slight return of both taste and sense of smell but it comes and goes. It’s early days yet in the healing process so fingers crossed, I get to smell coffee again soon.

The following morning as I sat in the main square in Nottingham eating my hot breakfast roll in the sunshine, it felt good to be alive. I was supposed to be attending Wimbledon that day but I wasn’t bothered. I’d just won my own marathon.

This one is specially for Grannymar

10 Responses to A Marathon

  1. Annb says:

    It’s an uphill marathon with a loaded backpack on your shoulders! As usual you are plodding through with your usual optimism and good cheer. I’m so sorry to hear about your senses, food is such a joy. I read an article once about a chef who lost his sense of taste found this on him:- http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/05/12/080512fa_fact_max
    What struck me, is how little we know about how taste functions. So much of it is a combination of the 5 senses. So since all your others are so well developed – I think it augers well for a swift return of the missing 2! Best of luck, keeping it all crossed here for you.

  2. Steph says:

    Ann – Thanks, as always, for your support 😀

    That’s an amazing story about the chef. I read Lia Mills book ‘In your face’ last year. She also had oral cancer and writes about it from an Irish healthcare prospective. I highly recommend it to you.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Your-Face-Encounter-Doctors-Machines/dp/1844881563

  3. Grannymar says:

    Thankfully my trip to theater today did not involve losing anything…. I did need to remove my pants with four men present 🙄 and I DID ask if they would play that tune for me! They didn’t. 😦

    You will come to your senses soon. Give it a little time.

  4. Steph says:

    Grannymar – I’m mightily glad you didn’t lose anything!

    Welcome home and I’m delighted that all went well for you today. Rest up and we’ll talk soon.

  5. Baino says:

    Eeuww! Although one good thing about losing ‘some’ and I hope it’s only ‘some’ sense of taste and smell is it could be good for the waistline! Glad you’re on the mend @GM You went to theatre? or The Theatre?

  6. Geri Atric says:

    Good grief! I go away to Scotland for a while and come back to find you peering around inside your own head..?!
    Seriously though Steph, I am so glad the op’ went well and it really is good to picture you chomping on your hot roll and enjoying the sunshine, free of infection and pain!
    Hopefully the ‘taste and smell’ sensations, however weak and sporadic, are an encouraging sign that these senses are not irrevocably impaired and will return for keeps.
    Good luck to you Steph!

  7. Steph says:

    Baino – I think I could put up without being able to smell anything again but the thought of not being able to enjoy food (and wine), is depressing. The first few days without both senses was weird as I could imagine how certain foods smelt and taste but when I ate them, the experience didn’t match up. I live in hope of being able to enjoy a glass of wine again.

    Grannymar has already revealed on her blog where she was yesterday so I can now tell you that she had an angiogram in preparation for her hip replacement operation and the news was good!

    Geri – Thanks 😀

    I sure was chomping on that hot panini as I missed out on a meal the night before. I was so tired after the appointment, I just fell into my bed and slept. The day I get to actually taste something again, you’ll be able to hear me cheering!

  8. […] from Steph.  Some of you read her blog The Biopsy Report and know that she is travelling a rather difficult road right now.  Following extensive and difficult surgery in Nottingham a few weeks ago she returned […]

  9. wow, I’d have fainted if I was shown that. Not doubt.

    Amazing.

  10. Steph says:

    Xbox – It’s just another orifice, that’s all 😀

    Just read your last post and laughed heartily. My best wishes to ET on the dry toast diet!

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