Some of you will have read an article I wrote a few days ago, which explained the fact that I have had a persistent cough for the last month, and in addition I’ve lost a lot of weight, and also lost my appetite. If you missed it, read it HERE.
This morning I went into the Spire Hospital near Tunbridge Wells for an Endoscopy to enable the consultant to find out exactly what was happening. I really am not a hypochondriac but I have always feared getting oesophagael cancer. Too many people I know have died from it within weeks of it being diagnosed. The consultant, when I saw him, last Friday told me it was almost certainly a Hiatus Hernia in my oesophagus.
On my way home last night I made a big mistake. I listened to the weekly Radio Today podcast, which included an interview with radio guru John Myers, who is recovering from cancer at the moment. The interview started off with him explaining how he found out he had it - yup, you guessed, he had an endoscopy!
Anyway, I got to the hospital at 8.30am, signed a lot of papers, and was ushered into my room. Let’s put it this way, impersonal was a mild word for it. A nurse took my blood pressure then ushered me into the bed. At about 9am I was wheeled into a sort of operating theatre, where the endoscopy was to take place. A few minutes later the consultant breezed in, cracked a few jokes, inserted a canula into my hand (no one can ever find a vein in my arm) and sprayed something slightly unpleasant in my mouth. And that’s the last thing I remember.
I opened my eyes and I was back in the impersonal room, not quite sure what had happened, or even what the time was. It turned out to be 10.30am. And I had had the endoscopy without even realising it. Result!
A few minutes later the consultant came in and confirmed there was no sign of cancer but I had indeed got a Hiatus Hernia. To be honest I was still a little bit out of it, so I can’t remember anything else he said, apart from telling me he was going to Whatsapp me the pictures of the endoscopy. At least I think that’s what he said. A nurse then brought me an egg mayo sandwich and some orange juice. After a while I felt well enough to get dressed and John came to pick me up. I was told I wasn’t to drive or sign any legal documents (!) for the rest of the day!
I’m already taking a daily Omeprazole pill, and that will continue for another four weeks. He wants me to lose more weight and decrease my body mass, which is 29. I’ve also got to give up all fizzy drinks and water, and drink Alkaline water. He also wants me to move to a plant based diet and not eat red meat, as well as virtually all dairy. He doesn’t quite want me to become a vegan… or at least I don’t think he does.
A Hiatus Hernia seems to be much more commonplace than I had realised. I had never heard of it, but so many people on social media have contacted me to offer the benefit of their experiences. Gaviscon Advanced seems to be something I should try, as well as tipping my bed by six inches. It’s all about the acid, apparently.
One more thing. Some people have criticised me for having private health insurance and using it for this. Are these people deranged? My GP advised that if I was fearful of cancer I would get a consultation far more quickly so that’s exactly what I did. By doing so I also saved the NHS both money and time, and left a space free for someone else. I’m not going to apologise for having private health insurance - anybody who can afford it would be mad not to. I’m never going to buy into this culture that believes that just because not everyone can afford it, no one should have it. I’ve worked bloody hard to be able to afford things like this and no one is going to make me feel guilty about it. It’s like just because not everyone can afford a Mercedes we should all drive a Trabant.
I’m not comparing the NHS to a Trabant but speed of treatment is not it’s greatest strength. The reason we have such appalling cancer survival figures is because we don’t diagnose it early enough. That’s where Health ministers should be directing their attention.
Anyway, it’s a day of rest, so I shall now watch my fourth episode of DESIGNATED SURVIVOR. Because that’s what a I feel like today - someone who has survived a bit of a scare. It’s now up to me to adapt myself to these new circumstances and try to break some habits of a lifetime…