On Monday 1st March 21, I was admitted to Ward 102, the Cardio/thoracic ward at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE).

I was in the RIE on this day for the pre-op work that I was needing for the surgery I was having the following day. The surgery that I had on Tuesday 2nd March was to remove the chest plate on the right hand side of my body. This chest plate was part of the chest rebuild I had after my right hand side of my rib cage was removed along with a massive tumour during life-threatening/life-saving surgery in October 2015.

The purpose of this recent operation was to remove this chest plate due to being infected. This infection on the chest plate was responsible for the times that I was hospitalised twice last year, and then again at the beginning of this year. 

The various pain teams I have seen over the years have told me that I have a high pain threshold. However, the pain that I was in due to the infected chest plate was, at times, horrendous. This not only effected my general health, but also the my quality of life. As I had described to my consultant surgeon recently, “it was like as if my was on hold”!

Since having this operation, I feel totally different and starting to get better. Although I have had some set backs like bringing up bile and then feeling exhausted after it. I am also having bouts of fatigue which leaves me feeling ‘exhausted’, so I have to rest. However, I was told that this is part of the recovery period.


The night before surgery I was asked to sign the consent form for it to go ahead. When I signed the form, I also ticked the box to authorise the presence of a surgical photographer to be present during my operation and take photographs for educational purposes.

When it comes around to what is happening to my body during surgery, I have always been curious to see what happens and how it all looks. It totally fascinates me to see exactly what the surgical team has done. However, despite my curiosity, I realise how important it is for the hospital to have a set of these photos, especially for training future surgeons etc.

It was a couple of days after the operation, and after the doctors morning rounds, one of the junior doctors brought round a laptop. He then let me see some of the photos from the operation, and I was amazed at the size of the chest plate. It wasn’t just the size of the chest plate that amazed me, but it was also the level of infection that was on it.


These photo’s of me were taken when I was in Ward 112, the cardio/thoracic High Dependency Unit (HDU) and also when I was on Ward 102. 

This was taken the day after surgery, Wednesday 3rd March 2021 when I was in Ward 112 (HDU).

I originally had three chest drains in me after surgery and two were removed before I was discharged. I go back to the RIE on Wednesday 31st March 21 for another follow up appointment and also for the chest drain to finally be removed.

These are the three chest drains I had in me. This taken when I was still in Ward 112 (HDU)

This is a selfie of me when I was in Room 16 on Ward 102. Even though I have been on Ward 102 in the RIE 5 times now, I’ve lost count how many times I have been in room 102.

I had asked one of the nurses to take this photo as this was the day that the dressing on the wound came off. That operation was the third time that the surgeons “went in” on that scar line. The procedure was called a ‘redo thoracotomy’.

I want to thank my consultant, Mr Malcolm Will and his surgical team for everything they did for me. Also, thank you so much to Eammon McGuire and his team on Ward 112 for all the care that they gave me when I was  in HDU straight after the operation. And also thank you to Caroline Braund and all her team on Ward 102 for everything they did for me.

Taking a selfie in the changing room at the X-Ray Department before my chest X-Ray on Friday 19th March 2021

After all the help and support from the staff on Ward 102, I was finally discharged on Wednesday 10th March 2021. Then just over a week later, I was back at the RIE on Friday 19th March 201 for a follow up appointment with the surgeons. At this appointment, I had a chest X-Ray and the surgical team were also checking the chest drain.

By the time that drain gets removed, I would have had it in me for 29 days. I will be glad to get this removed as where it is, it’s tricky to get in a decent position to relax in.

After being in hospital for a while, when you get told that you are being discharged, it’s a great feeling. It’s great to be back in your own home and being back to your own surroundings. Even though I get exhausted a lot, it really is great to be back home with Kirsty and Nathan.

Published by One of Fifteen

I am 1 of only 15 people worldwide diagnosed with maligant myopericytoma. Life threatening surgery in October 2015 at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh saved my life. I am now trying to find the #14others diagnosed with this rare form of cancer. Please help me.

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