So here I am once more… in hospital, awaiting surgery.
I've been here in the Southern General since this morning, during which time I've spoken to a couple of surgeons, an anaesthetist and at least one other doctor, and I've been scanned, examined, weighed (that was a bit scary) and had blood tests done.
Most of the time has just been spent sitting around, though. That's pretty much all I need to do, now.
Until the morning, when they'll be cutting my head open again.
That should go pretty much like last year. I won't be allowed to eat or drink from about midnight, and at some point in the morning I will be chemically knocked out and the cutting will commence. All I remember of last year's adventure is being taken to a prep room, having a needle put into my arm, told that the coming injection might be cold and a little painful, and then thinking, "oh, yes, that is a bit chilly… and a bit sore… actually, it's really becoming quite…" and then knowing nothing until four or five hours later when I woke up to see a nice man offering me morphine.
I'm expecting much the same this time. They'll be going in though the same hole, and ideally the same wound, too, so that's nice. No more bone cutting, all going well: just slice their way in through the scar, pop off the titanium plates or clips which are holding in the piece of skull which was jigsawed out a year ago, and commence the cerebral scrape. The aim is to get out as much new tumoury stuff as they can, ideally but not necessarily all of it, tidy round, get out and lock up. Last year I was back on my feet in hours (that delay mainly because I was still plumbed into a bag, and it's not really very amazing at all how that restricts your mobility) and I'm hoping for the same again.
I'm not getting to take part in the PARP inhibitor trial, as it turns out. Because of the procedures that govern medical trials there would have been a delay of perhaps six weeks to let me join that, and no-one, including me, seemed entirely happy with waiting that long before the scrape-out. So I'll miss the chance to help out with a science project, and be deprived of the comedic value of its name. But, never mind, I'll go for a Chinese meal when I get out and have prawn balls and squid rings instead. Even at 44, that still cheers me up.
Anyway, it was only a trial. The only people who really lose out are those running it, and they're my doctors and seemed pretty keen that I didn't wait. True, they lose some data, but there will be more. From my perspective… well I'd liked to have helped, and it might have been a wee extra which might have helped me too, but it equally might have made no difference to me at all, and I probably wouldn't have known one way or the other. I'll get the gold standard treatment regardless – and that's tried and tested.
So now it's just after 9.30pm, I've just had some toast, I'm sipping a coffee, and that will probably be the last I'll have before the midnight fast. Apart from the fact that the hospital will ensure I stick to that, I wouldn't break it anyway – I've no desire to throw up into my own lungs while under anaesthetic.
After I've finished my coffee and this blog entry, I just have to wait, and later try to get some sleep. True, I'm a little anxious – after all, they are going to open my skull again, and they have really whacked up my dexamethasone pre-operation, which might not help in that respect – but I usually sleep well and I really have no reason to be concerned, so I'm not going to be. After all, I'm getting some of the best care in the world here.
The risks of second time surgery are higher than the first time in, but only very slightly. My attitude is that I've done all this before – and coped very well.
So, as Whitesnake sang, "Here I go again", except I plan to do it with less ridiculous hair. That's including after they've shaved up the right side of my head.
I should be going in mid-morning sometime, and that means I'll be awake for or during afternoon visiting hours and can come round to see Clare.
I'm looking forward to that.