Tuesday 23 December 2014

A time for peace........

A time for peace, quiet reflection and yes, joy. Joy of being here, of time, of loved ones and family. Simple pleasures of waking each day, reflecting on past times and thinking of those ahead.

Wherever you are in your journey through life, be it long, be it short, we are thinking of you. Our heartfelt Christmas wishes are with you. When joining in those Christmas carols, watching the flames of the fire, looking at the glorious tree with its twinkling lights, our minds will turn to thoughts of you; those awaiting treatment, those successful in their treatment, those undergoing treatment, those whose treatment has not been successful and those no longer with us. We are thinking of you - willing you on, thinking of you or simply remembering you. 

Merry Christmas one and all; in our hearts and minds, we are with you.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Recovering from treatment

Recovering from treatment and looking after yourself are fundamental parts of your treatment journey.

If you are recovering from surgery it is worth remembering that bowel surgery is considered a major operation and will take time to get over, however, the length of time will depend on several factors including general health, wellbeing, age and, you, as an individual.  The encouragement from your specialist hospital team will be to get you up and about as early as possible, eating and drinking early and generally getting back to normal as soon as possible. This is good advice and based on a huge amount of research that shows that the sooner you eat and drink, the sooner you are up and about, the better it is for you. It is all with the aim of avoiding post operative complications like chest infections, blood clots, pressure sores, getting your bowels working etc. Indeed, some of this ground breaking research was undertaken at the Taunton & Somerset NHS Foundation Trust by members of the colorectal team and published in one of the highest regarded national surgical publications. This research revolutionised the way that patients were cared for post operatively and actively changed the way patients were cared for nationally. This was undertaken as part of a surgical trial that many previous bowel Cancer patients kindly consented to be part of, for which we thank you one and all for this, it has improved care for all patients thereafter.

Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can also take time to get over. Indeed if you have undergone a combination of the various treatments or a single treatment modality, one of the biggest issues people have is the post treatment tiredness, or fatigue, both physical and mental. This is a well recognised and common side effect of the various treatments used in Cancer care. It can be very frustrating, particularly if you generally experience a good level of health and wellbeing. It is worth remembering, however, that surgery is invasive and a trauma for the body to overcome, and chemotherapy or radiotherapy are treatments that effect the cells of the body making it work hard too recover. However, despite this, there is a light at the end of the tunnel; many patients return to normal activities within a short space of time and resume their normal lifestyle. Each and everyone of you, however, will vary in your recovery. Be patient with yourself. Set yourself realistic goals. Enjoy achieving them. Whatever your level of health and wellbeing your specialist team are there to help you; if you need advice they will be happy to try and help or guide you. 

Late effects of treatment such as an altered bowel habit or tingling in the hands and feet, to name a few, are well recognised and worth discussing with your specialist teams who will try and help you manage them.