Let’s get the good news out there! I have survived the surgeon’s knife and been declared cancer free. There will be scans ahead to make sure but right now there is nothing, and no need for further treatment.
But my body has been landscaped anew, with a long curving furrow across the ribs of my right side, curving up to a point between my shoulder blades. In front is another plough-mark, vertical across my belly. Here and there signs remain where tubes drained fluid or dripped food and medicine into my dark interior.
These marks of healing remain as souvenir and testament to the process I have recently emerged from. A little while ago I was unsure as to whether I had survived. I suffered a delirium, brought on by being out cold for two days.
The surgeon had to remove a part of my oesophagus and stomach and then put them back together. I dreamed. I was on the ceiling, watching myself being taken care of by nursing staff. In ICU I was revived, but I can’t say I had a single reliable thought for the entire week I was there.
On the recovery ward I was reunited with my notebook and so I wrote a transcript of the delirium which took me down into a frightening, dark place. Those pages, witness to my madness, have remained closed ever since.
I was at last convinced that I was dead, and it was only when I accepted this fate that I began to drift back toward the land of the living on the tiny raft that was my hospital bed. The nursing staff finally brought me ashore with patience and kindness.
I myself have had to relearn the meaning of patience since I returned home after three weeks away, gradually building my strength. I can walk the lane now when before I could barely make it out to the garden. It’s two-and-a-half kilometres to the village, which will remain out of reach for the time being.
At least I have been able to reconcile the reality that I have indeed survived, I am alive and loved, and life stretches out anew before me. All thanks to the fine French healthcare system, the skills of its staff and the unwavering support of my awesome family and colleagues.
well done for surviving the big c. do get in touch. Tim
Thanks Tim! Will drop you a line 😉