In the summer of 2008 after having pains in my side, which turned out to be gallstones, and not feeling at all well I went to see my Doctor who sent me to Bristol General Hospital to have an ultrasound scan. During the examination, the radiologist was rather puzzled by, as she said ‘a fluid in my stomach’.
The following week I was sent to the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) for a CT scan. After the CT scan, it was then decided by the consultant at the BRI to try and extract some of the fluid. While recovering at the hospital the young consultant then said to my wife, Ruth, that I would have to go to Basingstoke Hospital for specialist treatment. I did not know at the time that it was a rare form of cancer, but as soon as Ruth got home she ‘googled’ Basingstoke Hospital and discovered that they treated Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP).
She kept this quiet from me for two weeks until our visit to see Tom Cecil, the specialist consultant at Basingstoke Hospital in October. All was then revealed to me and at the time told it would be a 10-hour operation and arrangements were put in hand for me to have the operation at Basingstoke in December.
The hospital kindly also looked after my wife in the nurses quarters during my stay. My operation was performed on the 2nd of December 2008 and took 14 and a half hours. I was then sent to intensive care for a couple of days with tubes leading out in all directions before being sent to the Pseudo Ward (C2) where along with other patients received wonderful care by all the doctors and nurses. Three weeks later, I returned home but with a bag for my waste and minus a gallbladder, spleen, appendix (which is where the tumour was located), some bowel, and some rectum (enough to have the reversal done).
In the March of the following year I was able to return to Basingstoke Hospital to have my reversal operation and now return on the anniversary of my operation, or near the date, to have a CT scan and blood test.
I am now, as far as I know fully recovered, except for some minor toileting problems.
Through the support of my wonderful wife Ruth and our family, granddaughters Holly and Imogen, and new grandson Archie, I live a full life and try to enjoy every day. I now work part-time as a Tour Guide on the open top buses in Bristol (City Tours), the Clifton Suspension Bridge and at The Bristol Aquarium.
Update, December 2016
We now have four grandchildren, two boys, Archie and Jack, both born since my operation, and two girls Holly and Imogen.
I no longer work at the Aquarium or City Sightseeing (Open Top Buses), however, I now do talks to various groups about Bristol and it’s history, walking tours of the City, and guided tours and talks of the Clifton Suspension bridge.