Having temporarily stopped my two weekly sessions of chemotherapy Avastin and Capicitabine in mid- January, with the intent of aiming for a hip revision, which I had been told I needed in 2015, I eventually had a type of Petscan, paid for privately, which would show any problems with the bones.
The result was that I had no bone cancer or arthritis, and that the hip had now fully healed. Around the hip area though, there was something amiss still, as that area was brilliantly highlighted on the scan.
I saw the private surgeon for these results. He said that the problem was most likely due to the metal cables which are used to keep the setting bones in place at the time of the operation, and that they now were cutting into the interior of the hip and causing the pain and mobility problems which I had been beset by for the past three years, since the operation.
I kept the consultation which I had been given by the NHS to see an orthopaedic surgeon also, prior to the private consultation. This surgeon repeated the same as he had done in the past year that he did not believe a hip revision would be wise and that he would not recommend one for me. He said I could not go on his list.
This surgeon did not examine me nor offer me a new scan or up to date x-ray of any kind at all. He advised me to get back on my chemotherapy. He could offer me nothing.
The private consultant, one who also works for the NHS, (they actually know each other), said that he could remove the metal cables in a thirty minute operation if I was paying privately. I asked him if he would carry it out. He said he could but not until 28 April, so this would mean, allowing for a month of healing after the operation, a period of four and a half months off chemotherapy. I underwent a preoperative assessment which showed good results, blood pressure 128 over 82, BMI 22.1, cholesterol normal, no diabetes, no heart problems, in fact all extremely encouraging. The oncologist had estimated that I should only be off chemo for three months. I was concerned now. As the time for the operation drew near I began to experience the most severe pains in my liver and back and shoulder. I discussed this with the oncologist and decided to cancel the operation and return to the chemotherapy straight away, which I began again at the end of April. I followed my gut feeling that this was the right thing to do following the pains in my liver.
The secretary to the private consultant was very concerned and advised me to pencil in a date at the end of the summer, so if I were in a good position with the liver, I could still have the metal cables removed.
She also said that the NHS Derriford appears not to be carrying out much in the way of hip or knee operations at present, and only doing critical operations. Last week the private secretary phoned to ask how I was. I thought it was really kind of her.
The National Health consultant whom I had seen, made me feel as if I was not worth bothering with as I had cancer, even though it was my own oncologist who had pressed for and recommended me for the operation to give me a better quality of life. This is the difference between individuals. It therefore pays in these circumstances to ask for a second opinion and I would recommend that to anyone in this kind of predicament.
What was believed to be a major hip revision turned out to be a thirty minutes operation removing the cables from the hip.So now back on the chemotherapy I feel as if I have done the right thing but I have no idea whether I will be in a position again to have the cables removed.
The oncologist said that he did not think I would be in the position again to undergo this operation at a later date as the liver would not be healthy enough to allow it. Chemotherapy, although it kills cancer cells, it also affects the normal cells of the liver and body, and so this is where I have got to.
I have found continuous chemotherapy hard going but it is the only alternative I have left now. We had not been away from home since last September when I was on a chemotherapy break.
I the past weeks, an old friend passed away and we decided we would attend the funeral up in the Midlands. It is a big undertaking travelling and being away from home when you are struggling with the side effects of chemotherapy.
However we have to try to make the best of life so we arranged to have a week away, attending the funeral and then seeing friends whom we try to keep in touch with.
The weather has been kind – dry and bright and we always know when we arrive in Warwickshire because of the magnificent specimens of mature oaks and abundance of mistletoe around those midland areas.
The countryside is at its best in May I think and the numerous blossoms on trees and hedgerows scented the air and coloured the landscape. The boughs of creamy hawthorn may hung heavily, and trimmed every lane and roadside. Dandelion clocks covered the grass verges and the brilliant golden yellow of rape seed flowers stretched far into the horizon. Horse chestnuts spread wide, laden with giant candles.
Being outside even for a drive, in this landscape, lifts the spirits and focuses optimism and gratitude. Nature is a powerful drug and soothes the troubled body and soul.
We have booked some time away now down by the wild sea and landscapes and will let nature work its medicine on us!