Letting my colleagues know

One of the things I’ve done through this “odyssey” has been to use social networking tools to keep family, friends and colleagues up-to-date with what’s been happening to me. At Cardiff University, in addition to the public blogging platform, we have an internal blogging system, and I used this to update my colleagues and to experiment with this was a suitable use of an internal blog. I’m pleased to say it seemed to generate some interest, definitely made me feel better and allowed some colleagues to say some kind words as well. So my conclusion was … that this was a suitable use of the blog. I did a few updates from Harison Hospital but with the appearance of this blog, it then becomes more sensible to point those internal readers to The #hospitweet Blog.

In the message to my colleagues you’ll spot a reference to MrsJKH’s breast cancer in it – I’m very pleased to share with you that Jenny had a lumpectomy, and then a secondary operation to make sure there was a clear margin, and that now’s she’s clear with a programme of radio-therapy and hormonal treatment ahead of her, but no chemotherapy thank goodness – we’ve both been very lucky #whyilovethenhs. This is what I wrote …

“Some of you might want to know about some difficulties that I’m facing which have been completely unforeseen and which I didn’t see coming. Of course this could be a completely inappropriate use of this blog, as it’s very personal, so I’d be interested to hear views – sort of a personal experiment with corporate blogging ethics.

I’ve got diffuse heart disease (angina) which means many and separate narrowing of the veins and arteries in my heart. The angina is unusual in that it has been symptomless. I had no idea of the extent and severity of the problem until last week. I have had no chest pains, no recognisable breathlessness or excessive tiredness – I was running upstairs until the week before last! Until a fortnight ago I was expecting that the only treatment might be the insertion of a couple of stents (to widen the arteries) but an angiogram has revealed the much more widespread narrowing (hence “diffuse”;) and one blockage which means that by-pass surgery is the only realistic option. To ignore the evidence would be stupid and almost certainly would lead to a heart attack which could (as in the case of my father) be fatal. So I will have to have a number of by-passes (number to be determined) with surgery being done in about 6-8 weeks time. I will be in hospital for about 6 days and then at home for 2 months, at least, recuperating. So … I’m going to be “off the scene” for most of the autumn.

Just to make matters even worse, Jenny my wife has just had a breast cancer identified. This is of course far more worrying at this moment and we’re waiting to see exactly what the prognosis and treatment will be. We may need to work our operations and treatments in tandem. We’ll have a better understanding of that next Thursday.

So, as  a means of handling mentally what’s going on, I may blog/tweet about things as they develop. Please don’t be surprised too much if I do this – social media has liberated me in ways I’d never thought possible, and has allowed me to be far more reflective, which must be a good thing.

I’m quite happy for you to share this message with anyone else. I’ll let you know how things develop.”

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