I never ever – no, not for one moment, I never thought that I’d be saying, “Huzzah, I’m going back into hospital.” Even less so when I know that returning to Southmeads in Bristol means a third lot of surgery within six weeks, but hey ho…here we go…. “HUZZAH!” I had a letter yesterday requesting that I return to see the sawbones tomorrow Monday 9th February to have what’s left of my thyroid gland removed.

Now this, I think, is a result of the medics not talking to each other in enough detail. Because when I had the tumour on my thyroid and most of that gland removed in mid-December, there was rejoicing throughout the dining halls of Clan Elmore, that it was not found necessary to remove the entire thing – so we were all pleased about that. However, regular readers of Somersetland Adventures (aka ‘Tales from Dunpreachin’) will know that when I went to the Oncology unit last Monday to start the radio iodine treatment, they sent me back home because….”there is too much thyroid left.” The thyroid, it seems soaks-up too much of the active ingredient in the radio iodine and detracts it from attacking the carcinogenic cells elsewhere in the body. Hence the need for further surgery and taking away the remainder of the gland. So, another cut throat then!

I return to Southmead on Monday for surgery later in the day and all being well, I will only be in hospital for a night or two. Hopefully I will be back to the Oncology Unit next week for the radiotherapy. The one or two delays I have had are rather disappointing, because one always hopes that the various procedures will each follow on from the other seamlessly and efficiently with the minimum of delay and inconvenience and with the least disruption to one’s life. But having said that, most of the consultations, tests, surgery and so on have taken place sequentially with only a week or so between each evolution – so I have little to complain about really. One of my main concerns is for my new employer – the charity “Combat Stress.” (see “Links”) I was only with them for three or four weeks before I got this present diagnosis. And I must say that have been absolutely terrific in keeping me on. I am still in the ‘probation’ period of my engagement with them and they could easily have just let me go. But no! They have been extremely kind and generous and encouraging and have kept me on. So, quite apart from my wanting to reclaim my life from this dreadful cancer and get back to some semblance of normality; as well as relieving Fiona and my family from the stress and distress of my being laid low and in and out of hospital, I owe it to Combat Stress - and others – to have the treatment, come out the other side fit and well and crack on with life.

Thanks then are due to Combat Stress – a really interesting and worthwhile charity. If you know little or nothing about it – go to it via The Links button. But of course – as always the biggest thanks must go to Fiona, family and friends who continue to support, encourage, e-mail, text, pray, write and generally chivvy me onwards and upwards. Not least in this category of chums comes our dear rector, Fr Francis Sutcliffe and Barbara who very kindly invited us to lunch today at The Rectory. The gin and the wine flowed (no surprises there then! Although I must sadly relate I did neither Barbara’s delicious Sunday lunch nor Francis’ decanter justice!) and in the free flowing conversation we attempted to put the Church of England to rights…but we gave up after a few minutes!

I’m off to pack me bags for tomorrow – this is fast becoming an all-too familiar routine!