Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Pilgrimage

So, tomorrow I make the long trek up the M23, M25 and M11 to Cambridge

(260 mile round trip.
£60 petrol
£6 Car parking
Lunch £3
Dinner £8
Tea £2)

to see my consultant. I will sit in the waiting room for a while, someone will weigh me and then I get to see the Great. Man. He's very kind, very intelligent and (I know, it's just too much) he LISTENS.

Although I live in Sussex, I was referred for specialist treatment to Addenbrookes in Cambridge 16 years ago. A world respected Professor of Crohn's disease - Prof J O Hunter - had been conducting a research study into diet, and I was desperate to try it. My own, provincial consultant had put me on steroids age 16 and refused to believe anything could possibly help me unless it came in a box with a pharmacy label.

When I asked if I could try the diet, he replied "Well, you CAN, but don't come running back to me when it all goes wrong", his bow tie shaking with indignation. I never did. (*Shudder*)

So why do I still go all that way?

1) Addenbrookes is one of the top research centres into IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) in the world
2) I get new drugs quickly - often years before they are available in regional hospitals
3) The hospital is innovative and patient focussed, making in-patient stays infinitely more bearable.
4) The treatment is holistic and always starts with diet as a first (and often last) resort.
4) My surgeon is a genius. He can perform a surgical procedure to open up my blockages (strictures) rather than removing them (resecting), thus saving most of my bowel over the years. When I first started going to Addenbrookes, he was one of only 2 surgeons in the country to perform stricturoplasty. Things have not improved much since. I have had 26 blockages removed in this way. Without him I'd probably be dead, but certainly fed permanently through a tube.

So I'll drive all that way, wait for a while, go into the little room, have a 5 minute chat (ten if things are REALLY bad) and drive home.

But it's worth it.

I'll let you know how it goes.

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