Agony and ecstacy

Venting my frustrations

I’m not going to lie: this week has been hell! And my training has paid the price.

At about 9:15am on Monday morning the surgeon spoke the words my partner and I were dreading, “You have cancer”. I felt nauseous as the woman I love most in the world was diagnosed with the disease most people fear more than any other disease. The surgeon explained that she would have the best chance of recovery if half her bowels were removed: the tumour and all blood vessels leading from it back to the main artery. He believed he could do it using keyhole surgery, requiring just four relatively small incisions through which the cameras and medical tools would be inserted, and the bowel tissue removed.

I was numb while my partner was admitted to the Mater Private Hospital for surgery, which was booked for Tuesday afternoon. I stayed with my partner at the hospital all day, arriving home at about 9pm.

On Tuesday morning I went training with my friends from Brisbane Bayside Runners and Walkers. We had a speed session at the park. After a 600m warm up jog we ran 2 x 300m and 4 x 150m. It doesn’t sound like much but it was tough, particularly because I was running out my frustrations. My gorgeous running friends all rallied around me, expressing their support. One of my friends hugged my shoulder but I had to pull away because I would have been a blubbering mess otherwise and another friend who lives in the same estate as me offered to look after our kittens. It was so sweet of them.

Tuesday was a tough day. My partner was taken away for surgery at about 4pm. I held back tears all day but a few slipped out just after she had been wheeled away. Just after 8:30pm the surgeon phoned me to let me know everything had gone well and that he didn’t see any signs the cancer had spread. I was relieved and a few more tears slipped out of my eyes. When my partner returned to the ward at about 9:30pm it took all my strength not to bawl my eyes out with emotion. She looked so vulnerable in her post-surgery stupor.

I left the hospital at about 10pm and rode my motorbike home. Mum had fed our kittens so I went straight to the ensuite where I sat under the shower for at least half and hour crying my guts out. I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I cried out my fear, helplessness and gratitude. Gratitude at the cancer having been found early.

Wednesday morning I slept in and then went to the hospital to sit with my partner until 8pm. After I left I decided to celebrate the operation’s success with some tai chi at one of my favourite places in Brisbane: a park overlooking the Story Bridge. Then I went home for some ciders and a late night.

I backed up my late night with a hill running session on Thursday morning with my Bayside Runners and Walkers friends. We had a fantastic session followed by a yarn at the coffee shop.

Today my partner and I were told that the cancer has not spread. It was restricted to the centre of the tumour and had not yet made it to the tumour walls or the 44 lymph nodes removed from her bowels. This was the best Christmas present EVER!

I have only trained three times this week and won’t be training again until sometime next week after the shock of the past few weeks has sunk in. I want to spend the next few days or week with my partner and family, celebrating our lucky escape and the fact that the woman I love most in the world has a better than 85% chance that the cancer will never come back.

May all your Christmases be as wonderful as ours will be.

See you when I next hit the road, whether on foot or wheels. Merry Christmas 🙂


6 responses to “Agony and ecstacy

  1. So sorry to hear the news Andrew, but so happy for you both that they got it all and it hasn’t spread. I wish you a fabulous Christmas with your family and friends, I will be stubbornly training over Christmas (cause I’m paranoid the black dog will bite if I stop my positive momentum), but I will take Christmas day off to spend with my mum 🙂 Merry Christmas mate! – Simone 🙂

    • I can appreciate the need to train to keep the black dog away. I hope that it stays away for you. Looking forward to hearing about your training adventures during my little mini-holiday 😉

      Have a wonderful Christmas Simone 🙂

  2. Eloquent as ever, Andrew. Great to hear that the news is good- both just take your time to get over the trauma. Merry Xmas from your namesake!

  3. Cancer treatment has progressed in leaps and bounds. My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and she’s now doing great after undergoing surgery and radium. Best wishes to your partner, I’m sure she’ll surprise you with her recovery. Thinking of you both.

    • Hi Jodie,

      I hope the cancer is gone for your mum too.

      My partner’s recovery will probably be lot quicker than mine would *LOL*. She’s much tougher than me 🙂

      Merry Christmas to you and yours Jodie 🙂

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