Hello! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I thought an update was in order as I’ve been off the grid for a bit, so here we go.

I had my Whipple surgery on 7th November. It was eight hours long. It would have been six hours but they had to spend the first two just dealing with adhesions from previous surgery. Then I was in the HDU (high-dependency unit, a bit like ICU) for three days – I don’t remember much about that time. And then I was on a regular ward for eight more days.

I try not to think about the hospital too much because it was pretty horrible and sometimes memories come back to me and I feel really sad about it all. There was a confused elderly woman doing lots of shouting and telling the nurses not to hurt her and worrying about not being looked after and talking to people who weren’t there. There was a girl my age who had been in hospital for about five weeks. Sometimes I think about her and wonder if she is still there, but then I think surely she can’t be as it’s been seven weeks since I left. It’s weird thinking about the hospital still being there when you’re not in it. They had trouble putting a cannula in my hand so I had to have that redone several times, and at one point they ran out of places on my hands and arms to try putting one in so they temporarily put one in my foot, until someone who was fantastic at it managed to put one in my arm again. My veins were very shy. I hated cannulas before all of that, so that wasn’t very good at all – and no cannula means no IV morphine, so it was quite painful for the time in between. Being an hour away from home and not even in my home county felt bad, too. My family had a 60 mile round trip to come and see me.

However, I had an appointment with my surgeon a couple of weeks ago and he discharged me and referred me back to the consultant who had sent me to him. So trips to that particular hospital may hopefully now be a thing of the past. I have been referred to another doctor now to talk about whether i should have adjuvant chemotherapy, at a hospital in my own town. It’s not chemo to get rid of cancer – because it has already all gone – but it’s to make it less likely to come back. I know about this referral because my consultant copied me into a letter he sent to the chemo doctor saying “thank you for agreeing to see Sam to discuss chemo…” which was a pretty terrible way to find out you might have to have chemo. I am guessing they are probably going to recommend that I have it, but we’ll have to see what happens when they send me for an appointment.

In the meantime, hopefully I’ll be able to start doing more things for myself soon. I haven’t been doing very much as I can’t walk far or stay stood up or even sitting upright for too long, but that is getting much better than it previously was. I spent the first few weeks at home just watching television and not really doing anything else, because I didn’t have the energy for it. I’m just coming out of what I’ve decided to call “nap season” now, as I was having at least one nap every day but for the last couple of days it hasn’t really occurred to me to have a nap. So my energy levels are getting better.

This is probably long enough now and getting boring, so I’ll leave it there, except to say that I’m starting up Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and The Creative Truth again soon, in a new format. That’s what I’ll be working on today. I always find myself feeling very productive in the time between Christmas and New Year (Christmas was very nice by the way, a lovely day with the family) and I don’t want this year to be any different. So stay tuned for news on that. I feel like life has just stopped for me recently and I’m very keen to get it going again, even if chemo ends up interrupting it some more. I’d rather have it interrupted than delayed even further. There is so much to be done.