My consultant sent me an email at the beginning of last week, asking to see me for a general catch up and to discuss my progress to date. To sweeten the deal, he promised no colonoscopies. Which works for me.
Sadly the conversation wasn’t great. After the last intervention in May, I made good progress, with clear signs of healing of the wound tracks all the way through to August. But from August to November there was no further sign of healing in the wound tracks. On the positive side, at least the general inflammation in my pelvis continued to reduce steadily.
So the conversation centered around what we could do to try to get continued healing in the wound tracks, and possible issues and side effects associated with each of those options.
As always, the backstop to all this is to have a permanent colostomy. However, my consultant was very clear that this is not a simple option either. His comment was that it would be a bigger and more difficult operation to recover from than my original cancer operation. His estimate was several months off work to recover from it. So neither he nor I are keen on that option (for slightly different reasons!) until there is nothing else left.
So it’s really a matter of trying to find a way to restart the healing in the wound tracks. Long term antibiotics may help, but have their own problems. In particular, the kinds of antibiotics that would help will give me nerve damage if used long term – which of course, is exactly what we are thinking about. So the question is, where exactly is the trade-off? Of course I’d sacrifice temporary nerve damage for a successful result. What about permanent nerve damage? How much? What if I get the permanent nerve damage but no successful result? It’s a minefield.
Other options revolve around further surgery to open up the wound tracks more, trying to improve the long-term healing. That might work, especially in conjunction with more regular currettage and some antibiotics. Or it might not. My consultant just doesn’t know.
But unless we can find a way to move forward then my options are starting to look very limited indeed. Which is not good news.
But in the short term it’s time for my 3rd annual cancer check-up, so I’m due another full-body CT scan with the nasty IV contrast agent. And in the meantime my consultant will go off and consult with his colleagues and try to work out the best way forward for me.
Fun for all.