Yesterday I was told that I will be undergoing a bowel and liver re-section on Friday 27 May. Hearing this has brought a mixture of emotions, mostly terror and apprehension.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very keen for this cancer to be whipped out of me really fast. The sooner the better. It’s invading my body, it’s alien and it operates on stealth mode causing my body to react in ways it shouldn’t. I want it out, it doesn’t control me but for as long as it’s inside me it behaves as if it has got right of first refusal.

I know surgery is going to hurt, and physical pain can have a detrimental effect on emotional well-being. I don’t feel I’m in a strong position emotionally so I’m just hoping I’ve been able to put enough in the tank to see me through this one.

The list of risks associated with this type of surgery is a long one! I’m not going to recount it here…I’m scared enough as it is, I don’t want to create even more anxiety around me and I’m pretty sure readers won’t really want to know. And if you do want to know, just drop me a line.

I will be in hospital for a whole week away from my children. I’m not relishing the prospect of being far away from them; they’re the source of a kind of love which brings strength to my heart. However I’m also aware that hospitals are intimidating for young people and I would not want them to feel uncomfortable or scared seeing me after surgery.

I just wish I wouldn’t have to be wrestling with these thoughts and emotions on my own. This statement is probably going to have some readers reacting with the usual “we are here for you”, “you don’t have to do this alone”, and I appreciate those sentiments. But it’s not that kind of “alone” I’m talking about. I refer to the alone in the sense of ‘without Michael’ and no one can fit in to his shoes.

I face a long recovery ahead. Although my surgeon and consultant are both confident that, because of my “yuff” and level of fitness, I should need around six weeks to get back on my feet, I won’t be “strong enough to run 10k” as one of them said; so a parkrun should be fine then!

Also the uncertainty of what will come afterwards, treatment-wise, depending on what they find once they open me up, is unbearable right now. I will have a chance to ask questions about the whole procedure but right now my mind is blank; it’s a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.

Call me vain, but I’m not looking forward to a big scar running down the middle of my tummy and the possibility that I will have no belly button afterwards. Never again will I complain about my tummy being scarred by stretch marks because as unsightly as they are, they are also a reminder that I bore three beautiful, amazing and loving children.

On the face of it all, stretch marks somehow seem preferable now.

The author’s belly button
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