Tuesday, 24th January at 9.00am is the date and time we’ve just been advised we will meet the oncologist. In this meeting we will be told the histology and the type of the cancer we are dealing with. All incredibly scary stuff. Apparently we’ll be seeing the radiologist next week too, but haven’t been told the extent of what is to come at this stage.
I’m not sure how and what I should be feeling but to be honest I’m certainly trying not to worry or think about it: what’s the point, how would it help anyway, what purpose would it serve so let’s get on with enjoying ourselves.
As I am writing this, I am aware that the rest of life goes on in it's wonderful way. My beautiful girl Molly’s sixth birthday has taken over the house, which gets matters in perspective. Her excitement is infectious and engulfs us all.
Molly had the whole day planned, starting with breakfast in bed being attended by her courtiers then presents. Come the afternoon, Gravity trampolines with her ten mates meant a truck-load of squeals and hot faces!
I’ve been loving getting out with Zorro, my 9-year old German Shepherd guide dog, for our daily perambulations gradually increasing the distance until now we’re up to around 6/7km. For an international athlete of nearly 35 years I reckon I’m being incredibly sensible and restrained not trying to do more. The first couple of weeks I found it a little uncomfortable to walk much more than a mile or so as my backside was so stiff. My understanding is that the surgeons needed to move me around during the 5 hour surgery and I am wondering if my sore hips and butt are from the aerobics I was doing when I was knocked out. I’ll need to research what this entailed with the surgeons when we finally meet up next week. Suffice it to say I’ve been stretching and gradually it’s getting better and easier.
Unfortunately, Zorro had to have his own surgery at the vet’s yesterday for a procedure to remove an uncomfortable skin tag on the point of his left front elbow. The result of this is that he is stitched and bandaged up and is now sporting a small inflatable life raft preventing him from worrying the area. So he also has time off work , what a pair we make !
The sense of freedom of being able to simply walk independently with just my guide dog is brilliant giving me such a sense of joy and mobility. While I am out walking I forget that anything is wrong with me, it’s just business as usual. Sarah had been really uncomfortable about me going out alone given my recent memory loss prior to surgery I seemed to have lost my internal map of my familiar areas despite being so close to home, it felt like being caught in a maze. However I’ve been able to demonstrate that even though I can’t recall the road names I remember the roads and directions once again. Sarah was also concerned about me hitting my head on all the low hanging tree branches on my walking routes. As there are residual scars from my previous encounters. I keep assuring her I would be fine, anyway the surgery was to the back of my head and any tree branch would impact the front not the back which is hardened to the knocks ; no sweat: and I headed out the door.
After taking in the scenery of Maddels Farm and the beach on Tamaki Drive I stopped for a short while to enjoy listening to the waves lapping on the shore, to smell the scent of the trees and enjoy the warmth of the summer sun. Cam Watts a really good friend had been my running guide runner between 2006:2009 joined me for the walk. We ran the 2006 Auckland marathon together in 3 hours and 6 minutes, which even though my British Record is 2 hours 47 minutes it seemed tougher possibly because it was number three that year and I wasn’t as fit. We had run several half marathons and many 10k road races together our fastest half marathon was 1 hour 20 minutes two weeks after the Auckland marathon.
It’s now three weeks since the operation and I realise how far I’ve come. I’m feeling better than I have in months. Getting rid of the tumour really is a weight off my mind. It’s crazy to think that I didn’t even know it was living there or that I didn’t click that something was wrong with me. Had I been able to see I’d definitely have known something was wrong as my sight would have been affected by the pressure on the optic nerve.
I’m impressed with how well the scar is healing becoming flatter and less obvious. But the strangest sensation is the occipital lobe, the left hand back of my head feels numb as though it’s had a dose of novocaine.
I really am feeling positive and determined to do whatever it takes to win this race and get on with our lives. I know I am going to get through whatever the specialists throw my way.
Cheers until my next post…..
Rob Matthews MBE. Paralympian