ECG, FBC, cross-matching and questions questions questions

Was asked to come into hospital today for a “pre-assessment” – basically a lot of questions to assess my risk level for the operation. Had to give yet more blood (don’t they know I’m anaemic?!) so they had a sample to identify my blood group and to prepare for cross-matching should I need a transfusion. Cross-matching is apparently required to ensure that the blood I may be given isn’t going to react with my own – apparently even if you are given blood of the same type it can still cause problems and if it reacts the blood cells tend to clump together which doesn’t sound good. (Disclaimer – I am no haematologist and I could have this completely wrong!)

Was warned again of the risks of the operation, but my attitude is that it comes with the territory and so I’m not worried. The ‘biggie’ is a stoma, but its rare and if I am one of the unlucky ones even then it should only be for six months to a year. It has been mentioned that there are of course serious risks to any surgery – up to 5% of people do not survive the surgery, but I have not found myself daunted by this for two reasons: I am younger than the typical bowel cancer sufferer and this definitely counts in my favour, and the risks associated with doing nothing are far far worse.

My haemoglobin count is now 10.7 (normal is 13-17, my lowest was 8.1) which means its basically been flat for about three weeks which makes sense as I’ve been on and off iron – in preparation for both my colonoscopy and the surgery I have been asked to stop the iron. The doctors have been assessing today whether or not they want me to have a transfusion in advance and will let me know today if they decide I do.

Assuming not, the next step is to attend hospital next Tuesday at 11am. Luckily there are no pre-meds this time, I just have to not eat or drink after 7am. I will then be going in for surgery at around 1pm and am fortunate enough to be having my surgery performed by, and I quote, “the most skilled handler of laparoscopic tools in this country”.

A couple of hours later all being well I should start to come around. I’ve been warned that it is not uncommon to wake in a high dependency unit and not to worry if I find myself wired up to a multitude of monitors. I may be in there for a day or two and then I will remain in hospital until about seven days after the operation.

So that’s it until Tuesday. I’ve been a little overwhelmed by all the comments and messages I’ve had from everyone and am very very grateful to each of you for caring enough to follow my progress. You are all welcome to visit me once I am up to it. I have been called many things in the last few days – courageous; brave; dignified; inspirational… high praise indeed, but my intention initially was only been to get my thoughts on paper for my own benefit, but I have since found myself hoping that maybe I have inspired at least one person to take note of a change in there own body and to speak to someone about it. You know who you are.

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