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  • Julie Muller

Response to The Big C

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

I must admit that life has been a bit of a whirlwind since my cancer was discovered. Every week there is an examination, a scan or a consultation but I feel completely well in myself and so nothing feels real.

I had a pre -op on Monday in preparation for a Sentinel Node biopsy which took place yesterday. Apart from having my height, weight, temperature, and blood pressure recorded there was a long list of questions to answer regarding both COVID and my general health. In addition, I was swabbed for COVID and MRSA and told to self-isolate which, for me, is one of the hardest thigs to do. Life is all about human interaction and although I don’t need human contact all of the time, you soon miss its richness and warmth when you can’t have it.

The day after my pre- op. I had to visit the hospital again – this time for an injection of a radioactive substance into my left breast.

This injection would allow my surgeon to locate, and remove ,my sentinel lymph nodes and these will be analysed to see if any stray cancer cells have broken off from the primary tumour in my breast.

The day of the operation came, and I had to be in hospital for 11:30 in the morning although I knew that surgery wouldn’t take place until the afternoon. I occupied myself by watching a light -hearted film on Netflix, reading a few chapters of my book ( I am attempting to read Les Misérables )– by colouring and listening to music. Over the course of a very long day I was visited three times – first by the breast care nurses who came to check my personal information, to take my blood pressure and to measure my pulse. Then the anaesthetist came to check my suitability for theatre and finally by one of the surgical team. Eventually at about 5:30, the theatre staff were ready for me. I donned my highly fashionable hospital gown, my sexy disposable knickers and my even more tantalising white support socks and was led down to the operating room.

I walked into a sea of people who checked and re-checked my date of birth and identity. I lay down on the hospital bed, a canular was inserted into my wrist, a mask pressed gently to my nose, and I was asked to breathe deeply in and out four times. I don’t remember much after that, but I felt in very safe hands.

The next thing I remember was waking up and being wheeled down the corridor back to my room where I was shifted from one bed to another, and I began my recovery from theatre.

I felt overwhelmingly thirsty but also a little bilious. However, knowing that the criteria for being allowed home was for me to have eaten a meal, taken a drink and emptied my bladder I did everything that I could to make things happen. Eating and drinking wasn’t difficult, but my bladder refused to cooperate for a very long time, no matter what I did.

The nurse on duty was so kind and patient with me -

Eventually my bladder decided to release its contents and I was allowed home.

It was a 50-minute drive home, but the roads were clear, so Antony put his foot down. I felt quite queasy, so I asked him to ease up and promptly vomited violently into a hospital sick bowl . Again and again, I retched, and Antony offered to stop at the next garage. I was rather embarrassed because I was in a bit of a state, so I persuaded him to find a layby instead where he helped me to clean myself up.

Eventually, we got home and, although I still looked a bit green, – I managed to drink a hot coffee before crawling into the fresh soft depths of a freshly laundered bed and I slept – despite the naughty antics of Bruno who was caught by Tom rifling through the contents of the recycling bags in the kitchen.

I woke up the following day – a little sore under the arm pit but ‘right as rain’.

I am so glad that yesterday is over. Having surgery is never a nice experience . However, all of the staff at Kidderminster Hospital made my day as pleasant and relaxing as it could possibly be – thank you!!

Wild Daffodils at Dymock Wood in Herefordshire
Daffodils at Dymock Wood - the promise of better times to come in the Spring

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