And then things all went wrong all of a sudden…… I sent my bi-annual poo test in an envelope, thinking nothing of it, as always. But then 3 weeks later my Nina gets a call from the medical institute that they have made an appointment for me for a colonoscopy. Me, the guy that gets hysteric when having to see a doctor, or even call one. And without even asking if I want to. This was early November. Can you imagine my anxiety…… more like PANIC !?

Now, as if a colonoscopy wasn’t bad enough (certainly after hearing many horror stories from ‘friends’), it was not too bad…… but the resulting talk with the doctor WAS. She said they found a LARGE tumor inside my lower intestine and I needed to do a CT scan urgently. Now I was really PANICKING. This was serious….. and all my life I would have never thought it could happen to me.

The CT scan was not too bad in itself…… but the results were not more encouraging. The only positive thing was that they could not see cancer anywhere in my body or brain. But the tumor needed to go. Via our local village priest, we got to know a surgeon (working out of a private clinic not too far from us) who was recommended by many people and specialized in robot operations. So we went to talk with him, he studied the CT videos and said he would operate soonest. This was December 12, 2021. Amidst the Corona ‘epidemic’ even. I started on a fiber-free and lactose-free diet to prepare for the operation. But then nothing happened until a week later when the hospital called for an appointment for an ‘intake visit’. Oh, I forgot to tell you that the good doctor only had consultations in the private clinic, but operated in a hospital in Pesaro, 200 km’s east of us, along the coast. Aaaarghh.

In a typical Italian fashion, I had no idea what the intake entailed. I thought a mere administrative formality and a talk with a doctor there. Nope.
After driving off at 6 am, followed by much waiting at the hospital, it turned out I had to do all sorts of tests. Cardiogram, giving blood, talk with a surgeon, talk with an anesthetist ….. and there were long wait times between each. We left the hospital at 13:30, without having eaten anything!

Then the appointment came….. December 27….. just when my daughter and her hubby were visiting from The Netherlands. And into New Year too. So I kindly explained that this was not a good time. The doctor had told me that it could wait a few weeks. So ultimately the operation was fixed on January 17th….. presenting myself at Sunday the 16th in Pesaro. Our village priest was kind enough to drive us there in our little VW Up1 (Nina is afraid to drive here).
Also really annoying was the fact that I could have NO VISITORS. Because of the Chinese Plague and the strict rules in that province LeMarche. So should I die, I would die alone (like a few people we knew here already did……. so sad).

I will spare you the gory details of my operation……. suffice it to say it turned out NOT to be the ‘simple operation’ the surgeon had told me (he couldn’t reach the tumor with his robot tools because it was too large and because I had too much belly fat…. *cough*, his words, not mine), and it took them 5 hours to get everything removed and close me up again.
Subsequently, I had to stay 8 days in the hospital and not 4 or 5 as anticipated….. and now it is estimated that recovery will take some 6 months at least. The staff was nice enough, but I cannot recommend anybody to stay in a hospital in Italy. It is VERY different from what I’ve seen (with my parents) in The Netherlands.

Now back home for almost 4 weeks, after a neighbour picked me up from the hospital, and slowly getting to grips with eating again…. and moving slowly around….. recovery will take at least 6 months I am told…..

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