Thinking positive thoughts

I didn’t sleep much last night. To be honest, I was feeling rather down, and was struggling to stay positive. After the last three operations I had nothing tangible to show for it, was in a fair amount of discomfort (if not any actual pain) and struggling with some of the less pleasant physical realities of this particular treatment regime, which I’ll leave to your imaginations.

But at the end of the day, I signed up to this with my eyes wide open. The surgeon had warned me that it would be pretty grim and that there was no guarantee that it would actually resolve the problem at all. It could well leave me with no option but to elect to move straight to the colostomy that I’ve been spending so much effort trying to avoid. And I agreed to it all. So I’ve no excuse to bemoan the situation I found myself in.

But it seems to be part of the human condition to conveniently neglect the facts when we want to complain about our lot in life, and I’m no different to anyone else in that. And sometimes having a quiet moment or two screaming at the moon genuinely does seem to help. In my case, I did a bit of silent screaming and then moved on to counting my blessings, which I reckon to be far more productive, even though it didn’t seem to help to relieve my black mood much.

So in the end I was still wide awake at 5am this morning when the sun came up.

And somehow that made all the difference. I suspect that there is something primeval about dawn; seeing the sun slowly rising up into the sky, driving away the darkness, removing the threats of the night. The fears of the night replaced by the possibilities of the new day; suddenly anything is possible, and it’s good to be alive again.

And so it was for me too. By the time the surgical staff started arriving to go through all the paperwork I’d got my head straight again, and was drawing up mental lists of questions for the anaesthetist and my surgeon.

Speaking of which, today I got a different anaesthetist from earlier in the week, though still one I’ve “used” before. We recognised one another immediately, having had a good chat about sports cars (he’s an ex-TVR man) last time we met.

In the end I was down to theatre a little later than originally planned, and after the usual slick prep-work, it was lights out around 9:30am. Again, I came around in the recovery suite as though I’d literally blinked in the operating theatre and been teleported there. No disorientation, no wooliness of thought, just an instantaneous change of location. It’s a stunning party trick, and I suspect it takes some real skill to make it that smooth because I’ve been through some pretty rough recoveries from anaesthesia too, and they’re much less pleasant. So a big tip of the hat to my anaesthetist for that.

And then my surgeon called by, looking rushed and harried, but with a big smile. Apparently for the first time there is some granulation tissue in the wounds. Which is really positive news, because without that, I’d be sunk. In short, it’s the first signs that we might actually be doing enough to let me overcome the radiotherapy damage, and allow me to actually heal. It’s only the first baby-steps. There’s a long way to go. It could all still come to naught. But at least it looks like I might at least have a chance.

Did I mention how sunny and bright the day suddenly is?

Post Scriptum, I was asked why granulation tissue matters. The answer is that it’s a key component of the healing process, without which everything would come to a grinding halt. The whole healing process turns out to be pretty complex series of interlocking subprocesses; if (like me!) you’re interested, Wikipedia covers it in some detail, though you should treat with the usual caveats as to ultimate accuracy.

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