Friday 22nd April 2011. Peanut was at work today but we were heading to my Mum’s for the weekend as soon as she finished. To that end I took P to work, then kicked my heels all day until I collected her at 6 and then we went straight to my Mum’s in Buckley, near Chester.
We arrived at 8 in time for a home made fish supper which was very welcome.
Saturday 23rd April 2011. A lazy day at my Mum’s with a trip to Asda being the daytime highlight and a meal out at the local pub the evening delight. Simple stuff but fun and it was good to see Mum and Anthony again just before the liver consultaion on Tuesday, which was slowly starting to peoccupy my mind.
Sunday 24th April 2011. A fry up at Mum’s followed by the two hour journey home. Once home we felt the need to do something constructive with our afternoon so we washed CooperBeast and then treated ourselves with a barbecue in the garden. Our barbecue is a bit homemade and our coals were a bit on the big side so it took a bit of work to get it lit. In fact it took as long as it takes to drink a full bottle of wine, so quite an achievement in the end. All good fun though and just what was needed.
Monday 25th April 2011. CooperBeast was washed and cleaned but now he needed pampering. So we rinsed him once more and then rubbed him all over with a clay bar to remove all the tar and muck off him before waxing him back to a glorious shine. It was hard work but it kept us busy and it was very rewarding. It certainly stopped us both thinking about the next day when my liver consultaion was due. Peanut was working that night so I was home alone for the evening. I had a video chat on the Mac with my mate RVW and then spent the evening in front of the TV with half my mind on the consultaion the next day.
Tuesday 26th April 2011. Finally the day of my consultation in Birmingham had arrived. I was anxious and I needed to deflect from my anxiety. Peanut was at work and I was collecting her there at 9.30 en-route to the consultation. My best plan I decided, was to think of it as a hot date with Lady Peanut rather than as a consultation to discuss life, death and pain.
I showered and dressed, selecting my best cream summer jacket, black shirt and black trousers. I picked out my best watch and snapped the bracelet tight on my wrist, I dabbed on a touch of after shave and grabbed the keys to our fastest, sportiest and reddest car. My armour was complete and I was feeling good. I left the house to collect my hot date from work.
I arrived outside Peanut’s work and waited. My tactics seemed to have worked as I got a big beaming smile from Mrs P as she walked up to the car. Her smile made me feel invincible as we set off for the Queen Elizabeth hospital. We arrived in good time so I whisked Lady P off to a flash restaurant called The Cellar, sat her under a palm tree for a refreshing cup of tea and with a small leap of my imagination almost believed we were in the Cafe de Paris in St Tropez sheltering from the rain. Actually we were in the basement of the Nuffield building at the Queen Elizabeth hospital sat under a plastic palm tree, but Peanut assured me that I know how to give a girl a good time!
We reported to reception and waited only about 20 minutes before being called to see the liver expert. After a few routine questions he cut to the chase and explained my options.
First, I could choose to do nothing, go home get on with life and because the chemotherapy has bought me some time I would have about two years to live.
Or secondly, I could have an operation on my liver to remove the tumours. This has a 1 in 3 chance of success in which case I will be cured or if it didn’t succeed it would extend my life expectancy to about 4 years!
It had to be my choice and the options were given to me in stark, brutal, honest terms. I told him that I believed that I was the chap who would make his statistics look good and so would have the operation. He agreed with me and then told me I had made the right choice. In my head, I was thinking it was the only choice!
“May the 16th it is then” he said, “You report to the hospital at 8 am and the operation will be done on that day.” The battle was on then. He then went on to give me a few more details – I would be in hospital for 7 to ten days and it would take three months for me to be as fit as I was standing in front of him. I started to do some sums in my head before asking what I considered to be a key question, “So a holiday in the South of France, last week in August would be OK?”
“That would be an excellent way of finishing off your recovery” he assured me.
The papers have been signed, war has been declared.