When Dr Sarvesvaran – better known as Dr Joe – told me that I had lung cancer and would need a lobectomy it was more than a little bit of a shock. After a crazy week of tests and scans, he was the first person to mention the ‘C’ word to me and I really hadn’t been expecting it. So when he asked if I had any questions my mind just went blank. There were so many questions in my head that I couldn’t grab on to any of them for long enough to ask…. until, from somewhere, “Will I ever play the trumpet again?”
It was an odd question, not least because I had probably only played my trumpet a dozen times over the previous 18 years. Maybe subconsciously I was using it as a yard stick to try to judge what the future might hold? I don’t know, but right then it seemed quite important.
I’m not sure I can remember what Dr Joe’s answer was, except that he definitely chuckled. I guess it’s like that old “But Dr, will I be able to play the piano” joke, but for respiratory physicians.
Why am I telling you this? Well, today is April 14th, my lungiversary! Eight years ago today I was wheeled into surgery and said goodbye to half of my left lung… and the cancer that had been hiding in it.
And how did I celebrate this special day? Well, I took my trumpet into town and spent the afternoon giving my lungs a workout at a practice session for the RSNO Community Orchestra.
So, thank you Dr Joe. And Dr Davidson. And Jan Devlin. And Mr Colquhoun. And the countless other people across the NHS who played a part in saving my life. I think of you all often. Doubly so on days like today.