I was due to be admitted to the hospital at 1500 this afternoon, but got a call at 0830 this morning requesting that I get here at midday as they wanted to do a scan on my back following my recent walking problem. I saw my GP on Monday who packed me off to Yeovil Hospital where some preliminary examinations were taken, and Yeovil then referred their findings here – hence the early call to get here earlier today. I am extremely grateful to my ex-Faslane chum, Lt Cdr Graham Wood, who just happened to be visiting us for the day and who did all the running about…and bought me a pub lunch to boot! My good friend and former colleague The Reverend Ron Martin, Royal Navy, did me the great favour of driving me the 90 minutes to the hospital where we arrived bang-on 1200.

The usual observations were quickly taken and then I was whisked off to radiology for a MRI scan. Although these scans are entirely painless, one is closed into the machine for 40 minutes or so – cocooned, in fact unable to move…and it’s very noisy as well. I am quite claustrophobic and the whole idea of being shut in to the monster caused me to perspire (horses sweat and ladies glow) and feel rather panic stricken. Enter Diazepam. The sedative didn’t exactly send me off into some heavenly trance – but at least it made the whole horrible process bearable to the extent that I managed to stay the course. But it wasn’t enjoyable or pleasant. God bless Ron, because he stayed with me right up to going into the machine and was right there afterwards and soothed my troubled brow! I was quite emotional – caused by the anxiety of the whole process, and he was brilliant in holding my hand and calming me down – VMT Ron – you’re a star - and he stayed with me til 1630 – quite honestly I don’t know how I would have coped without him. Shortly afterwards the surgeon came to see me. My worst fears were confirmed. Further tumours on my spine, which are compacting my spinal cord and causing the walking problems. So Plan C.

The “Spine People” at Frenchay are looking at my pictures tomorrow and an early decision will be made. But the wisdom this evening is that I will be transferred to Frenchay Thursday morning because evidently it’s is more important to deal with my back first than the thyroid. So – spinal surgery – all being well tomorrow followed by the operation I should have had in a week or so’s time. Hopefully this will not delay the radioiodine treatment which is scheduled in for 3rd April. The surgeon who gave me “the bad news” was nevertheless quite upbeat and still insisted that my sort of cancer is by no means the worse and the recovery rate was encouraging. But of course it is still very worrying and a terrible anxiety for the nearest and dearest. In fact I couldn’t bring myself to tell Fiona when she arrived, and got the lovely Staff Nurse Emma to break the news. The only good news is that my darling niece, Elizabeth, in South Africa was safely delivered of her first born this evening – William. Welcome William and well done Elizabeth and Andrew! As soon as we have news of what happens next – well it will be posted here. Meanwhile many thanks for the goodwill messages, offers of help and prayers and masses said for me – and I’m doing my uttermost to be hope-filled and positive and I don’t believe I have yet loss my sense of humour.

Comments on this entry:

  1. Graeme,

    This is not Nancy, this is David (Hodges), I’m up with Nancy for the weekend and getting caught up with your news. I’ve been thinking and hoping that the news will get better. Wonderful about the new Grand child. I’ll keep praying (and worshipping the odd oak tree – virgins to sacrifice are difficult to find in Crediton unfortunately!). And thinking of the old Navy days – I’m sure the odd tot of rum wouldn’t go amiss!. All the best.

    — Nancy Hill · Saturday 7 March, 2009 · #