"There's a myth that anyone who has a liver problem has brought it on themselves" This quote is from a Crohn's disease patient living with a blocked portal vein hoping for a liver transplant (Independent 31st Oct 2010)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Now you see him now you don't

After what seemed an age of a wait (2 hours) saw the liver surgeon at North Manchester General Hospital. T and I had taken stuff to do in the waiting room, but ended up entertained by a row of 3 closed doors. The centre one was where the consultant was rumoured to be but apart from a constantly changing stream of nurses and support staff going in and out, no patients ever seemed to pass through. The patients went into the 2 doors on either side, and sometimes came back out! Sometimes a nurse would go into room 1 and come out of room 3. Or come out of room 2 and go back into room 1. It was like a stage comedy farce where doors on either side of the stage have actors going in and out whilst just missing each other with perfect timing. Finally all was revealed when we were allowed to cross the threshold of Room 3. All 3 had interconnecting doors and the consultant was moving between all 3 without popping his head out into the waiting room.

He seemed nice and from a technical point of view said the tumour was in a good place for surgery. T overheard the nursing staff refer to him as 'Blimey O'Reilly'

We then had an hour or so with the specialist nurse who will look after me from now on. She confirmed it is definitely cancer - they could tell that from the MRI. A biopsy taken during surgery will determine the 'type' and whether I will need chemo.

I go for pre-op on Tuesday 21st which will include as an extra another CT scan to see if it has spread to the lungs and a heart echo as I have a mitral valve prolapse. A sort of buy one get one free.

Surgery will be on Friday 24th starting first thing. It takes 5 hours via laparoscope as they go slowly slowly and the workspace is pretty tiny! Better for me but worse for the surgeon. Apparently he pops everything into a little bag to make sure nothing gets away before retrieving it through the mini slit. Made me think of the Tesco checkouts where the machine says "do you have your own bag?" and adds green clubcard points to your receipt - "every liitle helps". Then I go to the High Dependency Unit for a couple of days. After that back to the ward and lots of prodding to get moving again. Apparently the liver should have regenerated in 2 weeks which is pretty amazing.

Around 5 days in hospital and then home for 6 weeks or so. If I need chemo that will be during the 6 weeks recovery period, hopefully at the Christie hospital which is closer to home. The treatment of the hepatitis may have to wait until after chemo.

And to clear my conscience I've registered with the NHS organ donor list. Apparently I'm still usable, inspite of the hepatitis

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