I was never ill or sick in any way up until I retired in 2009 aged 63. During an annual health check in 2010, the NHS found I had prostate cancer which threw me into an NHS world I knew nothing about. They answered all my questions and advised me on other things that I would need support with in the future to cope; for example, how to deal with the feelings that come from telling my family and especially my son, who has learning disabilities and autism. I recovered well from this first brush with cancer.
The NHS came to my rescue again in 2017 when they found I had bowel cancer from a bowel-screening program they had placed me on as a precaution. I was scared, confused and out of all of my comfort zones!
I was introduced to an NHS system at Nottingham University Hospital known locally as ‘Queens’ or The Queens Medical Centre, which simply thought of all my needs and dealt with all my fears. It was pain-free, utterly efficient and very effective indeed. They helped me with my every need. From dealing with life on the ward to dealing with things in my private life. From the surgeon and his team to the consultants and the nurses, they all had a professional approach backed up with their vast experience.
I had a major operation on the 16th February 2017 to resolve the bowel cancer. The operation lasted nine and half hours. Ten minutes after the operation the surgeon rang my family to say the procedure was a success. We didn’t ask them to do it, it’s something they do.
I’d never been in a hospital bed before and this was my first ever operation. My experience was quite frankly awesome.
I am happy to say I have been discharged and cancer free and placed on a five-year watch with five planned visits for check-ups.
I now have a stoma that is permanent. I’m coping with this really well. Again, this is down to the stoma nurses in the hospital that trained me how to manage and live with it giving me the confidence to adapt my life a little to incorporate the stoma in my routine. I am now cancer free for the moment, knowing I have the NHS on my side if my health takes another turn for the worst. The NHS quite simply saved my life…. twice.
Happy 70th Birthday to the NHS!
Trevor Clower – Unpaid Carer. Aged 71 years
Follow our countdown to the NHS’s 70th birthday as we post a blog a day.