In two days I go back into hospital for what is, in theory, the last major milestone of my 1st line cancer treatment - surgery to reconnect my large and small intestines after my colon resection, and to fix the large hernia I've developed as a result of my ileostomy. I've been told to expect a one week post-surgery stay in hospital and, potentially, a difficult recovery (see my previous comments about Lower Anterior Resection Syndrome, or LARS).
But today I'm just feeling very thankful, and very conscious of the huge array of people that I owe a lot of thanks to. So, forgive the self indulgence, but I thought I'd pause to do just that - say thank you.
- My family - wife, kids, folks and others. Special thanks to Dad who is doing all the renovation and construction work to make our urban farm dream a reality while I wrap up treatment.
- Friends - Most of my friends live outside Australia but via Facebook and other means they've been a huge source of support and encouragement. Special thanks to the Bishop clan, who've gone above and beyond for us. This experience has made me realize that I could have been a much better friend in the past to those close to me who have faced big life challenges. For that I'm sorry and I hope I can be a better person in this regard in future.
- Google colleagues and Google itself - I'm lucky to have a very good employer (understatement) and even luckier to work with such a great group of people. Thank you for the fundraiser - embarrassing but very much appreciated - the understanding and patience and all the words of support. I continue to be surprised by the number of Googlers from offices around the world who still check in on me after 10 months of this cancer journey.
- Cranfield Community - Worth a special mention, my Cranfield cohort and several members of the Cranfield faculty have been amazing. Thank you for the fundraiser, the gifts from the other side of the world and especially the general support and encouragement. You've all be amazing.
- My medical team - I've been supported by literally hundreds of medical folk. GPs, surgeons, ward nurses and specialists of all kinds. I'm very lucky to have had the very best of medical services available to me. Special thanks to everyone at Macquarie University Hospital. Having spent a day in the Endoscopy suite recently I think I've now sampled just about every part of the hospital. I owe a great deal in particular to Prof John Cartmill (GI surgeon), Dr Sameer Mihrshahi (liver surgeon) and Dr Pirooz Poursoltan
- My coach - In the early days of my Stage 4 diagnosis Prof Stewart Dunn was a huge help. Calling himself my coach (rather than my psychologist) Prof Dunn gifted me some invaluable sessions and I owe him greatly for that.
- Web warriors - I've received a huge amount of correspondence via this Blog and my Medium posts. A very small portion has frankly been very unwelcome but I've also got some extremely helpful information and insight from some amazing people, that I wouldn't have otherwise received.
- Quest for Life & Petrea King - I spent a week at Quest in Bundanoon, Australia. More than anything else it was a great opportunity to meet some people facing a similar challenge to me but I (and thousands of others) also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Petrea King, Quest's founder, for the body of knowledge she has assembled to help people facing some of life's biggest challenges.
I would love to think that the worst of Cancer is behind me but I also know the chance of recurrence in the near term is extremely high. Regardless I can't thank everyone enough for helping me get this far. Fingers crossed I won't need to call on you all again.