This is not the normal sort of thing I post on Inventricity but it will affect the site for a while so please bear with me.
Last month I was given the news we all dread. My Doctor matter-of-factly informed me that – ‘Yes, Mr. Wardell, you do have cancer’. Of course, me being me, I have to have a vaguely amusing cancer – cancer of the tongue. When I’ve told people about it they have nearly all have expressed surprise that this type of cancer even exists. Well, I’m living proof, and I can assure you that despite its name, the comic possibilities soon wane.
It all started several months ago when I developed a small ulcer in my mouth. I manfully ignored it for a while but finally went to my GP in November. My doctor agreed with me and prescribed a medicated mouthwash. The ulcer continued to, very painfully, grow over the Christmas period and in January I again sought medical advice. This time a different GP referred me to Southampton General Hospital Maxillofacial Department where, following a biopsy, the grim news was delivered.
As you have probably guessed, Inventricity is not a huge operation – just me and a few friendly contributors. It reminds me of when I used to publish Inventors World magazine. We grandiosely used to give our address as Inventors World Towers – in reality a small office, sub-let from an insurance brokers, situated on top of a mini-market; accessed by a steel staircase on the outside of the building. Then, as now, with no-one to hold the fort, sickness has profound and immediate implications.
Next week I begin a long process of treatment. Firstly I will have an operation to remove the tumours from my tongue and lymph nodes. My tongue will be re-constructed from tissue and veins from my forearm. This is not key-hole surgery – more like front door with an axe. To obtain access, the surgeons will have to split my jaw and perform a tracheotomy so that I can breathe. After the op, I’ve got six weeks of Chemo/Radio therapy to look forward to; followed by speech therapy to restore my dulcet tones.
All pretty brutal stuff but, for someone like me who relies on the ‘gift of the gab’, it’s a bit disconcerting when they propose to take away my ‘gab’.
On the plus side, my time in hospital will give me a chance to ponder and marvel at all of the wonderful medical inventions that will allow me to be treated. It’s amazing what they can do these days – I just wish they didn’t have to do it to me!
So, dear reader, for the foreseeable future I will be unable to update the site nor respond to your enquiries. I’ve very much enjoyed your comments, corrections, suggestions and questions received over the past year. Fortunately, much of the information contained within the site will remain current and useful. There’s also a huge amount of history to explore.
On the positive side the prognosis is good so, hopefully, I will be back at my desk in the autumn. See you on the other side…