Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Another little problem

I saw the oncologist yesterday, which was good timing as things have recently started to get a bit more difficult. I won’t bore or disgust you all with an account of the search for a laxative I can tolerate, suffice it to say that good old senna has proved to be best. I’m taking rather more Zomorph to keep the pain under control and opiates tend to slow your gut down, hence the need for a counteractant.

Unfortunately, on Sunday evening I found out the hard way that solid food isn’t going down well anymore. I’m currently living on a variety of fancy liquid nutrient products, like Complan but in small quantities. Dr Morangie, one of the GPs, had already written me up for some, fortunately, and I had a chat with a dietitian at the clinic yesterday to explore more of these. They’re all quite tasty and so far seem to be staying down.

Dr Shankland, the oncologist, is referring me for another CT scan to see what’s going on in there. The concern is that this is gastric output obstruction or GOO for short. The lump may have started compressing the duodenum, the bit of intestine immediately below the stomach, so that food can’t escape from the stomach in the normal way. The result is very like the problem some babies have, pyloric stenosis, which results in projectile vomiting. The short term answer is to do what I’m doing, survive on liquids, not too much at a time, so that it can find its way through slowly.

The long term answer is, guess what, another endoscopy, this time to place a stent in the duodenum to keep it open. I’ll see Dr Shankland again as soon as I’ve had the scan to discuss that and maybe actually start some treatment. I’ve not been able to put on any weight, what with one thing and another, so the chemo choices may be more limited.

I have to say that all this is finally getting through my mental defences. Being restricted in what I can eat and feeling precarious about my internal processes means that the phony war is over. What I think of as the beast in my belly is being more than just a bit of a nuisance, making me use Creon with my food and take morphine to keep on top of the pain. It’s showing its teeth now, becoming life threatening in a very real way. If it gets to the point where I can’t keep fluids down I’ll start to dehydrate and will need admission for IV feeding.

Still, there are positives. We’re going to get to the Braidbar Owners’ Weekend this weekend, staying in an Airbnb house in Poynton with Elanor and Sally. It’ll be good to get away from Mercia for a change of scene for a few days, though of course we continue to be hugely grateful to all the Mercians who give us so much support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Bruce. You might not remember me but we once got grounded right in front of your boat, and we got a mention in your blog - Cheeky B? Anyway, I've tuned in to your blog for years, on and off, and have enjoyed all your adventures. I am sad to read of what you are going through now and I am sending you my very best wishes. Much love to you and Sheila, even though we've never really 'met'. Sue xxx