Thursday, 3 February 2011

A Thoracotomy and Laser Metastasectomy

I’m a bit behind in writing this blog, mainly because I was waiting to the see the specialist surgeon in London, but more about that later.

Last week, after a quick meal at the Orangery in Phyllis Court, we went to the Regal to see the film ‘The King’s Speech’. What a wonderful experience that was. Colin Firth was magnificent as King George V1, and the rest of the cast just great – Helen Bonham Carter very regal as Queen Elizabeth, and Timothy Spall (an unlikely choice as Winston Churchill) was remarkable. Some of my earliest memories as a small boy were hearing the speeches of the King during World War Two on our crackly wireless set, and as I endured a few years of stuttering myself as a youth I could well empathise with his agony.
I’m getting on well with my painting commemorating the fire at Windsor Castle. Still a long way to go, this shows my progress to date. The portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh is still at the initial stage.

I’ve been steadily working on a very interesting historical miniature portrait for a collector in the USA. In fact I finished it just today. All the paraphernalia of Royalty and the military fascinates me, and gives me the chance to paint in great detail all the various textures in these sort of portraits.. From gold, pearls and jewellery to metal, leather and armour, plus a score of other surfaces, I love painting them all.

Felicity and Fenwick invited us to dinner last Tuesday. They live in a house at Shiplake directly overlooking the river. Felicity, a Cabin Service Director with British Airways, always amazes me how she so calmly organises her extremely busy life.
Swyncombe is a small, picturesque village nestling in the heart of Oxfordshire and at this time of the year is famous for its snowdrop weekends. The churchyard and its rustic surroundings become a mecca for snowdrop lovers, so we drove over there on Sunday. But, like last year, we got the timing a bit out, and although the snowdrops were abundant, they were only just peeping out. It was a lovely bright day and the little church looked peaceful and tranquil.

High under the eaves my companion noticed this rather sad looking carving of St. Botolph.

 Now on to medical matters - (hope you don’t get too bored). Last Monday the oncologist in Reading decided that the PET scan I’d been through just before Christmas revealed two ‘warm’ areas in my lung. This indicated that a tiny cancer cell from my operation a year and a half ago had escaped and had travelled to my lung, so he recommended that I see the UK’s leading thoracic surgeon – Mr George Ladas – in London. So yesterday I travelled to the Royal Brompton Hospital for the consultation. To précis a long and very detailed 90-minute consultation it seems I am to have an operation later this month at the Royal Brompton. The procedure is called a Thoracotomy and Laser Metastasectomy. This surgeon has pioneered this procedure which involves intrusive surgery but uses a powerful laser beam to remove the two tumours which are residing in my lung. Operating time can be reduced by half due to the lung laser’s accuracy and power concentration, which is 70,000 watts of energy per sq cm, generating heat of 700 degrees Centigrade. (So if that doesn’t kill the little devils nothing will!). I should be in hospital for about a week, the length of time dependant on how I react to the pain. And when I return home I’ll need to walk briskly for at least two miles a day and use an exercise bicycle to regain the strength in my lungs.
As I feel positively well it’s a bit annoying that this little problem has occurred – especially as I’m so enjoying the several commissions I’m working on right now, but it’s best that the diagnosis has been made so early. I’ll write at least one more blog before the operation then may be out of action for a little while.


Gail Hayton said...

Bill, I am so sorry to hear you are having health issues. I have had 3 surgeries in the past 4 years and in each case felt well beforehand, so I can relate to what you are saying. Have surgery to feel worse-but it must be dealt with. I will pray for a totally successful outcome and quick recovery. You new painting looks wonderful! Looking forward to seeing the finished piece.

underthemagnifier said...

Hi Bill,
I'm sorry to hear that you will have to have surgery, but do hope and pray it is completely successful and that you recover very quickly!
I can't imagine that you already are enjoying the Snowdrops, as we won't enjoy any early blooms until later this month.
Your stained glass is looking beautiful in your new painting! The "voiceless one" now has his voice back and says "Hi".
Love and Hugs :-)

RG9 said...


I admit I was getting worried about the increasing length of time since your last post - and clearly, given your news, with good cause.

I've not known you long, but you strike me as a pretty robust sort of chap so I'm damn sure you will face up to this new challenge just like the last one and beat it again.

With my very best wishes at a troubling time,


Mona said...

Bill, that is tough news about your health, but it sounds like you have an expert surgeon, and if a good attitude counts, can I tell you how much I admire yours? I have kept you in my prayers, and I too will pray it's a totally successful outcome and speedy recovery.

Can't wait to see what you do with this new piece in progress for Windsor Castle, but be well and take care too.

love, Mona

prop said...

I do not know you personally but indeed I look upon you as a pal to have a pint with at any time – and I look forward to doing just that.
Bill, Lets get this Royal Brompton thing out of the way and wear that exercise bike out pretty quick so that you can carry on with your painting and get this blog back on the road asap. We need your regular blogging fix.
With every respect and best wish imaginable, Prop.

Bluebells in the spring said...

Dear Bill,
I saw the King's Speech a couple of weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Colin was excellent in his role.

This morning, we went to see a Singapore made movie entitled "The Great Great World" that depicts the lives of people who were part of the "The Great World" circa 1936-41. Before the advent of TV, the Great World was the amusement destination for people in Singapore. It was authentic in that people communicated with each other in their own dialect, occasionally mixing it with English and Mandarin. It captured the spirit of that era very well and I am sure it will be a pleasant journey down memory lane for you as well. I have asked my folks to get the DVD version when available and I'll send one to you.

So sorry to hear about the need for surgery! With such great advancement in medical techniques, I have faith all will be well with your surgery next week. I'll see you next month!


Joy said...

HI Bill :)

I am so sorry to hear about this upcoming procedure :( Wanted to send you my most positive thoughts and prayers for a quick recovery! Please keep us posted my friend
Joy :)

Anonymous said...

Its all because you do not eat Garlic.

Horizon Gallery said...

I will drop round to see you in a few days time Bill.