On Monday I saw the gastroenterologist, Dr Vandome, and yesterday I had an appointment with an anaesthetist before seeing Dr Glaise, the surgeon, again.
This was my first meeting with Dr Vandome, who is serious but very nice. She told me that the scan report after my duodenal ulcer crisis showed that after the ulcer perforated (with that still very memorable agonising pain), a bit of intestine had floated up and blocked the hole. This was what had saved me from immediate emergency surgery, and allowed the less dramatic slow healing of the hole. Dr Vandome will undertake the colonoscopy and endoscopy, which will be done under general anaesthetic on 31st August. Obviously subsequent surgery will depend on the results of these tests.
Yesterday’s meeting with the anaesthetist was a brief, relaxed affair. Then on to the lovely Dr Glaise, and we had moved on from discussions about the ulcer to the planning for the hernia operation. in French the term éventration is used – I think – to describe a hernia caused by previous trauma or surgery. In this case, said Dr Glaise, the cause was the operation and radiotherapy for my cancer in 2025.
She checked with the radio therapists and told me it was a large éventration which would require the biggest size of patch, or prosthesis . She showed me an example of the simple but high tech patch that would be inserted, after the intestine had been pushed back and the surrounding sac removed, to block the hole in the muscle wall.
I don’t know how much she was covering herself for unforeseen complications or how much there was a risk these might exist, but she said that she would not know exactly what she was dealing with before the actual op. The worst case scenarios seems to be adhesions, or bits of intestine stuck together, in which case she would only be putting in a temporary patch (presumably because further surgery would be needed). Suddenly it all sounded a bit scary, though I continue to have confidence in Dr Glaise .
The operation will be on 11 September, to give time to recover from the anaesthetic at the end of August, and to fit in an appointment with the heavily booked cardiologist, on 7th September.
After a few days at the Clinique in Ganges I would have to transfer to the Chataigniers for recovery. Dr Glaise stressed how crucial it was not to put any strain on the stomach in the months following the surgery and broke the news I would have to continue wearing the dreaded corset day and night for six months.
Goodbye plans to travel this autumn.