This email was sent to me today by my friend Gav who has just undergone an horrific operation for mouth cancer. It is such an amazing email that I wanted to share it.
This puts the credit crunch into perspective.
"this will be brief and mostly incoherent, but felt the urge to share with you all some of my thoughts over the last 6 days.
it is s funny thing, but it really does hurt like the proverbial beatch, but then it goes away again. often helped by drugs, but when you are in the thick of it, it really is all consuming. there have been times over the last few days when my tongue felt like it was been stapled together by white hot carpet tacks. there are a lot of nerve endings in your tongue.
2. i am lucky. i really do believe that. i am lucky to be sending this email now. one of my lungs collapsed during the 7 hour surgery, which they told me afterwards wasnt a good thing and i could have easily checked out at that stage. it is at times like now where one truly understands why cliches are cliches and truisms become truisms, but here goes....to have the cancer spotted, dealt with and removed so efficiently is really lucky. many aren't so lucky, and the real passion for just being alive that i feel right now is a truly new experience for me and one that i genuinely hope to turn into the most powerful force in my life. if you thought i had joie de vivre before....
but i also need to offer the cancer the respect it deserves as it will be lurking in my life for ever now. so, i need to give my body and the doctors the best odds possible, so i guess we will need to be looking at some lifestyle changes. don't want to over promise and under deliver on this one, but i think i need to make a few changes.
3. i have utmost respect for all the medical staff i have come across here. i have been treated on the nhs system so far (got my own private room tonight for the first time) and i have been bowled over by how damn clever the doctors have been, and how amazingly caring the nurses have been. when i run the world we will swap nurses and bankers salaries over...
4. intensive care units are scary. i spent 4 days in intensive care (most of them only partially conscious myself) before spending 2 days in surgery recovery ward (itself no barrel of laughs). some of the stuff i witnessed i there was horrific. the young dad in the bed opposite who was stabbed in the neck on friday night, who was putting up a brave but ulitmately challenged struggle for his own life, whilst surrounded by his shocked family all praying him to make it was just awful, the noise of suction pumps sucking crap out of a stabbed lung is going to linger.
5. my family are amazing. nics has got me through this by being an absolute unflappable rock (missing her sisters wedding in the process), and little izzy my inspiration to keep fighting, to keep going when i thought i couldnt take any more and to focus on beating this damn thing. and my parents and becks for sitting with me for hours and nics' mum who flew over this morning to take some of the pressure off nics.
6. i have great friends. the love and support and cards and dvds from all of you (esp. susa) . they say that it is a scientific fact that people who are being prayed for recover quicker than those that aren't. i know praying isnt everyones't thing, but i was definitely aware of a lot of people rooting for me and supporting nics, so i want to say a very big thank you. it has been a huge tower of strength over the last few weeks
7. gag free zone. finally, there hasn't been too much to laugh about. i guess cancer, pain and collpased lungs tend to "trump" a good gag when it comes to the high stakes hands. but... in a deep dark morphine induced coma i did actually make myself laugh. i had been getting 2 bed baths a day from the nurses - many of them male and extremely efficient at this less than glamorous side of their job. i was rigged up to many monitors and was totally out of it, but was amused at how when i had my first bed bath from the rather cute filipino nurse "fannie", as she dived in for the groin wash, suddenly all my blood pressure monitors started bonging and ringing off the wall meaning the sister had to rush over and check that i wasn't about to combust. it made me smile.
so, we're not out of the woods yet. i still can't speak or eat and am still waiting for the results of the cancer tests on all the lymph glands they removed to see what radiotherapy i might need, and i look like frankenstein and walking 2 metres totally tires me (no change there, then), but i definitely turned a corner today."