Diagnosed with vulval cancer and trying to maintain my sense of humour.
Well here I am.
Back at home after surgery and a slightly longer than expected hospital stay.
Due to holidays I was handed to another consultant therefore I was facing surgery with no prior meeting. I was anxious anyway but the night before surgery I had a call from the man himself! What a difference that made! Felt totally reassured about what was coming plus the man had a delightful sense of humour.
No laughter on my part when we actually met just before surgery and confirmation that as well as a slightly wider margin to remove lump, lymph nodes from both sides were coming out. Frightening - but there I was and it had to be done. So with wobbly knees I walked into the op theatre - funny situation. What seemed like a roomful of people all turned and smiled, welcoming me in. It felt like I was about to give some sort of performance!
And so ..... came round feeling NO PAIN! Eventually taken to a ward and spent the next week trying to recall some of the things which caused me amusement. I could give more medical details and will if anyone asks but for this space I wanted to look for the things that made me smile.
Lovely consultant appeared fairly early the next morning to check out his handiwork. It felt slightly surreal to see this ( and I have to say rather handsome) gentleman shining a blazing light and peering at my ‘undercarriage ‘ and saying ‘Beautiful, just beautiful’ !! Totally hilarious and I have laughed to myself many times over that one!
My lovely husband visited with the news that he managed to sit on and break his glasses. I’ve only been gone 24 hours - what next!
Consultant came again and said he wanted the bed to be angled slightly differently. He played around with controls - it looked like a video game. Various bits of the bed went up, down, folded and eventually there was a crunch, at which point he handed the controls over to the nurse. This was getting hysterical but I had to control the laughter as it hurt. The lovely nurse, also falling about, asked how exactly he wanted the bed. The reply? ‘What would be ideal is if we could suspend her upside down from the ceiling, but I’m not allowed’ More hilarity!
I had been told clearly about how many drains and tubes I would have after surgery, but it didn’t really sink in. Getting out of bed was a mammoth expedition. Fast forward a couple of days and I was out of bed more and even venturing up the corridor. Not an easy journey with drain bottles and catheter. At the end of the corridor was a waiting room for the many day patients waiting for various procedures. I think many are now mentally scarred as a result of watching me dragging all the clutter along and walking in a very awkward manner as everything was swollen from surgery. Their poor faces ....they would have been anxious anyway. I do actually feel quite bad about that. It seems that most in-patients walk the other way. Guess I have a left-hand preference.
Painkiller adjustment caused some misery. I felt so sick and the anti-sickness made little difference. Felt like never finding anything funny again, ever.
I had such excellent care in hospital. Every single person I met was just lovely...doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, cleaners, people who brought food, absolutely everyone! I couldn’t have had better treatment and I feel so very fortunate.
i am home - where I am surrounded by family and friends who always make me laugh even in the dark times- and that’s what I’m hanging onto. It’s going to be slow crawl to get moving and I await further results.
And I will keep looking for things to smile at.
Well done for managing to see some brighter moments, wishing you a speedy recovery.
I never really expect anyone to read what I write !
Wishing you well.
You just made me lAugh among my tears at my own worries about bowel was having a cry read this and laughed out loud so thank you you have dried my tears tonight and I do hope you are ok x
How kind of you to respond. It’s so tough some days to feel like laughing and I have to work hard at it. Glad I cheered you a little.
With all good wishes x
You have a wonderful sense of humour Ob, and your ability to focus on the funny things to help you is inspiring!
I was messaging my ex husband when he was asking about my tests, and when I told him the room looked like a butcher’s shop after my hysteroscopy and punch biopsy he nearly fell over...he gets dizzy going to the optician so it was too much information but he said he was glad I hadn’t lost my sense of humour. I hope I never do in all of this!
Really smiled to read of the consultant investigating his work! I had my feet up on those stirrup things when my consultant raised his head from between my legs and said “ You can’t go to Bali-I need you here next week”. I remembered being in the same position getting stitched by a doctor after I had my first baby-only that time when she looked up from her handiwork I projectile vomited and she was left wiping it off her glasses!
Keep smiling! x
Your stories made me laugh out loud! Hilarious!
Just what I needed after an afternoon at hospital to talk about next stage -radiotherapy with a little dash of chemo for good measure.
Hang on to that sense of humour. I may have already lost my dignity but I refuse to lose sense of humour!
Warm wishes x
Safe payments by:
If you have any questions about Macmillan, or would like to talk to someone about cancer, we have a team of experts
who can help.
© Macmillan Cancer Support
© Macmillan Cancer Support, registered charity in England and Wales (261017), Scotland (SC039907) and the Isle of Man
(604). Also operating in Northern Ireland. A company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales company
number 2400969. Isle of Man company number 4694F. Registered office: 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ. VAT no: