Rebuilding

This is just a quick update as I’m rather sleepy and wobbly. My reconstructive surgery went ahead three days ago, on Thursday. It took a long time – between 6 and 7 hours – so I’ve been feeling very tired and uncertain of myself. I opted for the method I was originally offered and had rejected (using skin and muscle from my back to create a new breast mound) but only after months of research and questioning. I’m glad I waited as I certainly wasn’t ready for this in January. I was thankful to enter into this at peak fitness, having run the Leeds 10k last weekend. We’ve raised almost £1,000 for our local Breast Cancer Haven!

I have been blessed with an amazing female surgeon who has made such a difference to the whole process. She listens, communicates and behaves in a humble way that values the patient whilst also showing a willingness to learn, discover best practice and explore the evidence base. She was supported by another female surgeon, consultant anaesthetist and a wider team who I didn’t get to know so well. For the first time, I went in to hospital calm and confident, not shaking and angry and stayed calm and cheerful until I was called to theatre (which happened very quickly after initial assessments).

It’s been a strange time of healing old hurts and lost trust, despite it being brutal surgery. Even as a runner I can’t imagine the stamina it must take to operate for so long.

I stayed in hospital for two nights and scarcely slept during the first as I was being monitored very carefully and couldn’t settle. The second night was somewhat easier. Yesterday I came home to my wonderful family.

We are incredibly fortunate in the UK to have health care that is free at the point of access. It is rare and precious and I will seek to defend and develop it for future generations. There are many challenges in the NHS but I’ve experienced some of the very best that it can offer.

For now, it’s time to rest, heal, see what God has in store for me next and to celebrate what is good.

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