A wee video of Heather post op:
After being ill on Friday and an emergency visit to hospital we awoke on Monday morning with the very real prospect that surgery might not go ahead.
We had been up late chatting and putting the finishing touches to the FUCancer playlist from all the suggestions Heather had. I spent most of the night adding in some Kiss and AC/DC to balance out the Britney and Kelly Clarkson tunes.
I awoke at 5.30 am to the sound of the playlist up to 10 and Heather dancing around the room singing along, it’s moments like this, when you realise Cancer doesn’t stand a chance with this girl.
It’s fair to say Parsnip was not happy with her mummy’s mood, burrowing under the duvet and refusing to come down for her breakfast.
After showering and getting ready there was time for 30 minutes more dancing and singing before we left for the hospital at 6.30 am.
Heather collected her post it note affirmations from the mirror and encouraged the whole family to adopt a superhero pose.
A few more tracks from the playlist and we were at the hospital. We were about 45 minutes early and the walk we had planned to kill time was quickly abandoned on realising that the best summer weather ever had gone and it was absolutely minging out there.
We then sat with a series of doctors who would be managing the surgery, going over the risks and confirming Heather’s consent.
With each new doctor or nurse we had to explain Friday’s nightmare, knowing that this might mean the surgery would be cancelled.
The decision was made to go ahead and it was time to say goodbye and although Heather didn’t have her cape and spandex she was ready for another city levelling super battle, as she was wheeled into surgery in her gown and slippers.
With all the chat about Friday I had forgotten to mention to the staff that Heather was a real life super hero and that normal needles wouldn’t pierce her skin, special equipment would be required to operate on her and control her super strength.
The NHS bill for Heather’s treatment in recent years was huge and has been priceless for us, thankfully they have never sent us an invoice for equipment damaged, while treating this super specimen.
In similar fashion to Dr Banner, 4 years ago Heather was exposed to high levels of radiation, as treatment for her cancer.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work like the movies and the result of this life saving treatment is years of side effects that impact your daily life.
Thankfully for us Heather already had a hulking green monster inside her and anyone that knows her will agree “you won’t like her, when she’s hangry”.
The last time they tried to strap her down for a procedure (Brachytherapy), she awoke to find stirrups bent out of recognition, apparently not designed for super thighs.
On Monday they would be cutting a hole in her skull, exposing her brain, her head pinned into a brace with three prongs, held in place with 60 pounds of pressure.
As I left the hospital my mind flashed back to the pre-op questions, “when did you last eat Heather”, “I had a biscuit at 9.30 last night” she replied.
Panic hit my body, Heather now hadn’t eaten for over 12 hours and hanger would be setting in.
There was no time to call Thor or ask Tony Stark to fly in his hulk buster, all I could do was pray that she could keep it under control.
The day was a blur, spending time with family and trying to distract myself from the reality that whatever happened today, my life with Heather would be changing.
I was expecting a call about 2.30 to say how she was, it didn’t come. I knew it could be later, but that didn’t lessen the worry, when the call didn’t arrive.
I felt like I was having a panic attack and found myself wandering aimlessly trying to control my breathing.
About 4.30 I got a call from the surgeon who had led Heather’s operation, his name isn’t Professor X or captain America, but he was the leader of a team avenging Heather against cancer.
He told me that it had gone well and that she was moving her arm and leg, one of the biggest risks was damage to Heather’s motor strip and that she might lose use of the left side of her body. He repeated this a few times, before I clarified “both arms and legs?”, “Yes both” he replied. I was overjoyed, the NHS aka the Avengers had done an amazing job again, despite the challenges of operating on a super human….“BUT” Professor X stopped me in the middle of my 5th thank you speech and said “there was a slight problem”.
When they woke Heather up, having earlier anaethetised her with a combination of gas, morphine and kryptonite.
Sitting with her brain exposed and her skull pinned in place Heather came too with an empty belly. Her skin quickly turned from pale pink to deep green, her hospital gown bursting at the seams. Flexing her arms and legs and with one swift motion of her now bulging 23 inch green neck she broke free from her shackles.
The Avengers jumped into action, Professor X covering her exposed brain to prevent the pins causing her serious injury, while Wonder Woman grabbed the equipment and quickly intubated Heather with a high dose of kryptonite, putting her back to sleep.
The “awake craniotomy was off the cards, the carefully plotted out procedure couldn’t continue in the decimated city scape that surrounded them.
The Avengers moved to plan B and pressed on with the operation. Professor X no longer had the feedback that an awake craniotomy provides and would need to use ultrasound and judgement to remove the tumour.
As he relayed this story I felt slightly embarrassed to have earlier been on the verge of a panic attack, while waiting for a phone call. For Professor X and the Avengers there was no panic, there was calm and composure.
At 5 pm we were allowed to visit Heather, as I walked in the room I saw my beautiful wife smiling back, looking better than she had done on Friday in St John’s hospital.
She immediately began apologising for destroying a city scape during the operation. I could almost hear the sad piano music from the credits of the Incredible Hulk in the back ground, as he walked to another town regretting the destruction and chaos he had left behind.
After apologising 50 times we received visits from Professor X, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and various other members of the NHS Avengers, all were happy with how the operation had gone.
Heather spent the next hour slagging her dad and I, singing songs about “peeing freely” and telling constant jokes.
Draped on the end of the bed was a red thin shiny piece of fabric. Heather had hung up he cape for now and along with the NHS Avengers she had earned a rest!
However there was one more mission and I her trusty sidekick, would have to complete it alone. Was I up to the challenge? Could Penfold fill in for Dangermouse, could Robin star in a standalone movie without Batman? What would my mission be?
“Seeing as I won’t be there, please can you sing Parsnip a song for me, when you get home?” This I could do, “What song?” I asked. She replied with a serious expression on her face, pausing for effect, such was the perilous nature of my task…“Nobody does it better by Carly Simon”.
So if you hear a whining noise tonight, it’s not the cats on the wall outside. Look out your window and you might see a grown man slow dancing with a sausage dog murdering a great song, in the name of saying FU Cancer.