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Unfortunately, the post-surgery plan for removing the cyst didn’t work out, and I’m back to daily dressing changes for the next few days and every other day for goodness knows how long after that.

A swab of the wound on the back of my neck which my GP took five days after surgery revealed that it had become infected with a staph infection and I was put back on antibiotics. The wound was now oozing again and my ED doctor friend changed the dressing twice before recommending that I turn up at the Emergency Department at North Shore hospital on Saturday afternoon.

I arrived just after 3pm and after an hour I was seen by a nurse, and then an ED registrar who managed to convince a surgical registrar to come and examine the wound. Finally they decided to open the wound and remove some of the stitches which was done under local anaesthesia. I got home just after 7pm with a prescription for some more antibiotics, and a referral back to the surgical team who had performed the surgery 10 days ago.

However, I did receive some good news over the past week or so. The blood test I had the week before last revealed that my pancreatic cancer biomarker (CA19-9) is now down to 1810 (it was 2030 back in May). For the second time my GP printed out a graph of all the CA19-9 results since October last year and gave it to me. The increasing length of the plateau on the right hand side of the graph is very comforting. When I saw my oncologist, Dr S last week he was also very pleased, though a bit miffed that I already had the biomarker result. He likes to give me the good news, and I can understand that, given that he sees mainly pancreatic cancer patients, so he probably doesn’t get to give out good news very often.

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My next appointment with Dr S will be at the end of October after I have had another CT scan. When I told him that I planned to celebrate still being alive on 9 October – which will be exactly a year since I was told I had pancreatic cancer – he said he would make sure that the scan was booked for after that date. I really appreciated that.

Following the cervical cancer screening conference that we (we being the Cartwright Collective) have organised for Friday 5 August, my next goal is to get to go on the week’s holiday at Pukehina beach with several friends that has been planned for the week after the conference. Just have to hope that I can find a way of getting the two or three dressing changes that I will probably need while I am down there.