As I expected, my meeting with Dr Curtieu, the surgeon who performed last year’s operation, was a non-event; essentially a rubber stamp that the scans showed no evidence of a recurrence of the cancer. He is hopeful that it was caught in time and that the radical removal of lymph glands was a necessary precaution in case some cancerous cells had escaped from the uterus. I will continue to have six monthly checkups for the next two years, the next one in the autumn, will be with the oncologist.
As to all the various side effects I have had, he confirmed what the doctor in Ganges said, that essentially I will have to live with any problems, taking medication if necessary. He implied that the radiotherapy was the main cause rather than the surgery. But then he would, as the surgeon, wouldn’t he?
As I was ready to leave, Dr Courtieu asked, smiling, if I would be voting in the referendum in June. I explained that I was waiting to hear if I still had a vote in the UK (I am reaching the end of the 15-year period after which I have no voting rights) but if possible I would certainly be voting to stay in. ‘Le Brexit – c’est une honte’ I said. He offered his bafflement at the British position, but then added that of course all countries had their cross to bear – in the case of France, it was le Front National. It was like being back in hospital: though pressed for time, Dr Courtieu clearly wanted to engage in discussion.
I have since received a nice email from Brighton and Hove Council confirming that I’m entitled to vote in the Referendum. I think I have made it by about a week, as my official date of residence in France was 1 July 2001.