I was feeling vaguely scared as we travelled to Bristol this afternoon. I was not sure – well actually totally ignorant - of what message I was going o get from the medics who have been looking after me thus far – and so the brilliant winter sunshine and clear blue skies as we passed by Cheddar and up through Gurney Slade rather belied what was going on in my mind.

We arrived at the clinic – interestingly held in Bristol Dental Hospital of all places - in good time, and didn’t have to wait long before we saw the doctors. First was an ENT consultant who hardly mentioned my recent surgery to remove most of my thyroid and the tumour on it – so I take that as good. He then spoke about the other cancers which he said, “had spread” and in particular those on my scapula and on my ribs, which he described as “advanced”, and “serious.” The intention is to attack these, plus the “spots” on my lungs with radioiodine treatment. However the growth on my shoulder has caused the scapula to “disintegrate” and this will have to be surgically removed so as to maximise the effectiveness of the radioiodine treatment. It is obviously this “disintegration” which is severely limiting the mobility of my left arm. Hopefully the surgery will go someway to correcting this.

I have been given a slot for the radioiodine treatment, and I also saw a very pleasant consultant radiotherapist and her registrar, who very kindly explained what would happen. I will be admitted to hospital in Bristol on Monday 26th January and will be kept in isolation for five days, as evidently I will be radioactive! However before then I will have to undergo the surgery on my shoulder – and I anticipate that will be next week, and I will probably be in hospital for no more than two or three days. So it’s all happening quite quickly, for which I am very grateful. My assigned Macmillan nurse was also there, so Fiona and I were outnumbered 2-to-1 by the medicos!

I am still experiencing quite a bit of pain/discomfort in my shoulder and side and have ‘outgrown’ the eight paracetamol a day I am presently taking and have been “upgraded” to a codeine/paracetamol pill – which hopefully will do the trick until the surgery.

So that’s the story so far. More news and snippets of Somerset Life as I get it. Thanks again for your interest, prayers, thoughts, telephone messages, best wishes, e-mails, texts and cards – each and everyone not only deeply appreciated but also therapeutic. My aim – if they will keep me on – is to be fit and able to return to work at the very beginning of March.

Comments on this entry:

  1. Fr G.
    Please remember, our thoughts and prayers are with you and Fiona and we hope for a speedy recovery. Perhaps this is God’s way of saying you have done your bit and should slow down a tad.
    Meant to tell you, we had to have Scruff put down but we now have a 10 wk old Jack Russell called Buster.
    Just to let you know, you don’t have all the fun, I was admitted to hospital Christmas Day and was discharged 30 Dec.
    love to you both
    Dick and Brenda

    — Dick Bidgood · Tuesday 6 January, 2009 · #

  2. Can’t find your e mail address but guess that this should work.
    Rooting for you.
    I suppose the most theological statement I can offer is
    “What a total bugger”
    I will track progress on the blog.
    These quacks can do very clever things.Bristol is a place with a reputation, so lets expect them to rebuild you.
    You don’t say much about the pain which indicates to me that there is a lot of it to cope with.
    Per ardua ad astra..or something equally inane……J

    — Jeremy Ames · Thursday 8 January, 2009 · #

  3. Dear Fr Graeme,
    I dont’t kmow whether you remember me. I met you at the King’s Chapel when I took over from Caroline as Secretary at the King’s Chapel during Michael Harman’s time. I have recently heard of your illness. I wish you a quick recovery and I will remember you in my prayers.

    Kind Regards

    Marie Carmen

    — Marie Carmen Zammit · Monday 12 January, 2009 · #

  4. Hello Graeme,

    Mark told me you had a blog, so here goes.

    I don’t know if this is the electronic equivalent of a “post-it” , in which case this must be a “blog-git”, or perhaps a “blog” from an old “git”.

    Keep “pegging” away your friends and colleagues are thinking of you both.

    All the best,

    Stevie T (Jock Bish)

    — Stevie Thomson · Friday 6 February, 2009 · #