I’ll warn you in advance that this isn’t going to be the most positive of posts. I have recently come out of hospital after a five-night stay. The culprit this time? The port. It was becoming so painful that I asked the doctors at the research centre to have a look at it for me and they immediately booked me in for an ultrasound and chest X-ray. The tests revealed that I had a haematoma and a vein was blocked with a clot, so it was back to A&E for the second time in as many months. By the time the taxi pulled up outside the hospital it was so painful that I was in tears.
I was admitted to the oncology ward and it was decided that the port should be removed. This was not a pleasant experience. I was told it would be under general anaesthetic but when I got to the department for the procedure the surgeon told me it would be local. This caught me off guard and I started to panic; I tried not to cry but couldn’t help the tears running down my cheeks as the cut was made. I felt so vulnerable laid on that table, wide awake and with my chest exposed. But the anaesthetist held my hand and talked to me while the port was removed, and I was grateful for a comforting voice.
I couldn’t believe my bad luck; I’d never heard of this happening to anyone before. I was just about back on my feet from the previous hospital stay. I’d been feeling stronger and more positive and what happens? Life deals me another blow, leaving me asking how much of this bullshit can I realistically take.
The port was out but the problems didn’t stop there. It was decided not to give me any blood thinners on the Friday and to let the area settle down over the weekend, but by Monday I was told I now had clots in my right arm as well.
When I complained to the vascular doctor that I had pains running up the inside of my arm and had restricted movement he said he thought I had a frozen shoulder; the swelling from the clot meant that I couldn’t turn my neck and this was the result. I would need physio and any thought of me returning to yoga when I got home was quickly dashed. The doctor also informed me I’d probably be on Heprin, a blood thinner, for at least the next six months. I have to give myself this injection every day.
When I got back to my side room I was told I was being shipped out and moved onto a shared ward, which was probably one of the most traumatic experiences of the whole stay! I know that sounds dramatic but being on a shared hospital ward is like taking part in the most miserable version of Big Brother imaginable. Throw in the fact that you all have a life-threatening illness into the mix and you arrive at ward D for depressing. A poor woman in her eighties in the bed opposite me was vomiting almost constantly from 12am to 4am and another lady who looked close to death was just a bed away. Psychologically, hospitals are the absolute worst places to be when you’re unwell.
Tom was amazing as usual and spent as much time with me as possible and my mum travelled down from up north to be by my side when Tom couldn’t be.
I’m back home now and feeling very fragile. Mum and I watched Call the Midwife last night and one of the storylines was of a man whose young wife died in the final weeks of her pregnancy. They had been so in love and were looking forward to a future together. By the time she passed away near to the end of the episode I was heaving empathetic sobs.
That’s the thing you see, when I get a setback I start thinking negatively. I’m pissed off this happened to me and wish I’d never had the port fitted; I’m worried that the trial will be delayed because I might be deemed not fit enough to take part. I know I’ve been here before I just didn’t think it would be so soon to be feeling like this again.
I was meant to be travelling to see my sister and nephew in Bratislava this week but that had to be cancelled, much like trips to Israel and New York were scrapped when I found out I had brain mets, and of course our New Year’s celebrations were shat on from high above with a case of neutropenic sepsis. I’m not going to apologise for moaning because at the moment I feel like it’s so terribly unfair, but I’m learning life keeps happening no matter what. There’s no such thing as your fair share of bad luck, so you’ve just got to pick yourself back up and have faith that it will change.