My Pandemic Story Part 2
I got back home to Sylvia and Millie on Sept 5th. It was an emotional return as I had been away over five weeks. We cried and we laughed. I was very positive though. This would not beat me and we would come through it.
At this point I must thank the Spanish health system. The diagnosis was in Ibiza. They then transferred me to the Huercal Overa Hospital just 30 mins from our house. There was a minor panic when the Correos lost my paperwork and scans. Another thank you goes to the lady at the Post Office, who up until then I can only describe as being unhelpful. She chased down the driver and saved the day.
The Ear, Nose and Throat Department in Spain is called the Departamento Otorrinolaringologia. Go on try and say that!! My first appointment confirmed everything from Ibiza and I was given my options. Option 1 was an operation to remove the tumor and some lymph nodes, with possible follow up Radiotherapy. Option 2 was Chemotherapy with possible operation if the Chemo doesn't work. Decisions, decisions. I just wanted the Cancer gone. So I went for Option 1.
Option 1 ends up looking like the video.
Yes I had the perfect look for Halloween. The operation lasted 5 hours and they removed 23 Lymph nodes. I must admit is was surprised when i saw the the scar went both sides as the didn't tell me they was doing both sides. To be honest it was never painful and the staples came out after 4 weeks and the healing has been great. I have a great scar and a story to tell. I was thinking the worst was over but at the next appointment the Doctor told me they had not been able to remove a very small section of the area around the tumor and I would need 28 sessions of Radiotherapy. How hard could that be I thought to myself.
The Hospital in Almeria is about 90 mins from our house. The Radiotherapy was 5 days a week Monday to Friday. The thought of driving 3 hours a day was not great so we looked at renting a place close to the hospital for the period of treatment. At this point I must thank Roy Burdett and all the friends and family who donated to help with the trip south and the rent of the apartment. It was truly amazing to see all the comments of support and love. Thank you all xx
The Radiotherapy itself is not painful in anyway. I had a mask to keep me in place for the 15 mins each session and at the end I walked away and thought that was it. I was not prepared for the effects on my throat, taste buds and all things to do with eating. The next few months were the worst of the whole treatment. I was not able to eat or taste anything really. Soups was about it and even then swallowing was difficult and they tasted of nothing. I made Sylvia's life difficult with my constant moaning about it. How she put up with me I don't know. My weight dropped to 67kg. I am usually around 74kg. After around 9 months things slowly improved and now in mid March just over a year since the Radiotherapy finished I can say things are back to about 95%. I don't think things will ever be 100% but I will take it.
On the 21 December 2021 I got the " all clear " from the Oncologist. I cant' put into words the feeling of relief and joy. I called Sylvia and we both cried tears of joy. I will have regular 6 months check ups but I am now ready to get on living.
So what now you ask? I am back on the bike and had a great month training in January, my best ever month for distance. February was not so good with a trip to the UK in the middle of it putting a spoke in the wheels. March is better. I have the focus of a couple of events in April and May. I will be relaunching Velovelefique later in the summer hopefully around the time La Vuelta comes to town here in Almeria with the finish of Stage 11 just down the road in Cabo de Gata.