Even I had to go to the GP when my skin turned yellow.
A few days later I knew there was a problem when the test for hepatitis was negative. I got two great pieces of advice from friends - firstly, go to a London teaching hospital for the next steps and do it now!
The good news to emerge over the next days was that I was lucky enough to meet the criteria to be operated on. Some days later Rob Hutchins helped by Giles Bond-Smith performed a Whipple or pancreaticoduodenectomy operation on me at London Bridge Hospital. I spent two weeks in this top-flight hospital where the whole team looking after me were willing me to get better. I measured progress by the removal of yet another tube attached to my body. The medical team just wanted to know if I had passed wind yet (the returning of the stomach to normal being a major milestone)!
Then home for a few weeks of recovery before 5 months of chemotherapy. The first sessions were fine and then the body gets progressively weakened and the impact of the drugs accelerates. But chemotherapy is an insurance policy against the possible return of cancer and therefore was a really positive course to tolerate. Support of my wife, family and friends was fundamental. It then took some more time for my body to recover fully from all it had been through. The ensuing checkups were always a time to be nervous- would there be any recurrence?
Getting to the five year mark is fantastic! I am blessed to have survived a terrible illness with appallingly low recovery rates. I am also so pleased to realise how skilled Rob and Giles are and to know them better and to be a small part of LAPResearch’s ongoing work.
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