To see the updates of what is happening please do read them at the bottom of this page.
In mid December I was diagnosed with having Kidney Cancer. I was lucky that I requested that during the Ultrasound on my Liver that I requested they check my Kidney's. That is when I was told there was something on my left kidney.
2 weeks later I had a CT scan and was informed shortly after that it was cancer of the Kidney and that sadly the hospital had missed it the year before on a previous CT scan of the Kidneys. Something I am very angry about and my family extremely concerned and upset about.
The good news is that the Cancer has not spread but the operation does have certain concerns, such as the cancer itself bursts or splits and then it could go to any other organ. So having it fully removed is the better choice and allows, I hope quicker healing time.
My current students and parents were informed of the outcome of the scan and today 18th December I met the Consultant Surgeon at Frimley Park Hospital to discuss the options available to me.
There were two options and sadly the first one might not be 100% effective and rather dangerous. The 2nd option left to me and only viable one due to the size of the tumour ( size of an orange) is now to have full removal of the left kidney.
I explained that I was happy to undergo the operation as early as possible even if that meant going in before, during or just after Christmas. I am now awaiting to hear back as to when a suitable surgical date will be given.
NOTE TO STUDENTS AND PARENTS
The operation will be at Frimley Park Hospital and I will be kept in over night and hope to leave the hospital the next day or certainly within 48 hours if all goes according to plan.
I am aware that I will certainly not be teaching then day of the operation and I will probably take a few days or a week off. My total healing time will be around 4-6 weeks but I have been told to try and move around but the first 2 weeks will be difficult. I won't be able to lift much for the first week and the 2nd week will still be painful.
I will be making sure that those students awaiting examinations will not have their teaching interrupted by this and will do everything to the best of my ability to continue teaching as soon as physically and mentally possible.
I would like to thank you all for your kind words and support. That is very special and means much to me and my family at this most worrying time.
Hoping 2024 will be an exceptional year for all students.
ABRSM and TRINITY
I will be continuing with the Trinity online exams as I have for the past few years but I am now also going to bring back ABRSM Exams to those who wish to undertake their exams.
You will have the option of Face to Face Exams as well as Online with ABRSM.
Students that feel they have a voice and wish to have some singing lessons added in please let me know and we will work on piano and voice.
If you have any questions in relation to the operation, teaching, exams ,2024 then please do not hesitate to speak with me or email me.
21/12/23: IMPORTANT: Students that have developed an infection, cold or who have family members who have fever, cold, coughs, Covid, sickness must not attend lessons for the next 4 weeks. Your lessons can be taken online. They will not go ahead with the operation if I am found to be unwell.
21/12/23: I have spoken to Frimley to find out when the operation date might be set. They have many people awaiting Operations in Neurology although It will be certainly within 4 weeks. I have requested today that if they can do the operation before the New Year I would be pleased to come into the hospital.
27/12/23: back to teaching until the 30th December and return to work 3rd January
27/12/23: Hospital called to see how I was feeling and to explain that there had been a delay due to the Doctor's being on strike. I have been assured not to worry about the cancer spreading before the operation. They expect to have me in before the 7th of January. I will confirm exact date as when I am going in for the operation.
OPERATION DATE: Has now been issued.
4/1/24: The operation will not be happening until the 3rd/4th week of January . The expected date for me to now go into hospital will be the 19th January. If this is indeed the date I have the operation I will be taking 7 days off right away. I may have to take 15 days but will see how I feel.
Will be teaching until the 18th. However, the week before I may ask that you have your lessons online as I can't take the chance of catching any cold, or being near anyone who is unwell.
17/1/24: Hospital called to find out how I was and asked if I had some questions to which I only had a few. It seems I am the only one having an operation that day in the theatre.( Odd: I wonder why). Anyway the sooner I am there the quicker I will be taken into the actual Operating Theatre. So it looks I will have had my operation just around 1pm now.
Not sure if I will be able to concentrate on Thursday evening with Students and I may decided to go to bed early or spend time with my family.
Presently taking Diazepam to calm the nerves!
Next time you hear from me will be after the operation.
20/1/24: The operation has now been carried out.Sadly, however, it did not go exactly to plan as the Cancer was in a very difficult part of the kidney to reach and retract. This meant that they had to go for the traditional way of removal and thus leaving a larger and longer scar tissue.
This means my recovery time has now dramatically increased and my full recovery will not be for at least 4-5 months This does not mean that I' can't teach but what it does mean is that I will probably have to take a minium of 15-20 days off. Depending on how I recover at home.
As you all know being self employed can have it's ups and downs and as a Piano Teacher I do not have the liberty to take that amount of time off work and never have done. So I will certainly be taking at least 7-10 days off and will inform you all if that changes.
Presently I am fairly comfortable but extremely tired
I would like to thank you all for your kindness.
25/1/24: I have a 19-inch scar around 49 cm. It is tough to walk but I have to do so. Breathing is laboured so I do not talk much and unfortunately, the painkillers are not doing their job.
I will certainly not be able to teach for a while until I can control the pain and breathing.
Sadly, the position I was put in for the operation has caused further damage to my L/L5 disk bulge which means that I am currently numb from the waist to the top of my thigh and the pain from the spine adds to the pain from the operation.
Staples are to come out in around 10 days.
1/2/24: I have now resumed teaching. ( Online for the first week back). If you have flu or cold then please stay online.
I would like to thank everyone for your very kind messages and support. Very much humbled by those who wanted me to take more time off and offered to pay for the service. However, I decided it best that I should try and get back to normality for the students as I do not want their progress to suffer.
I am still on medication and will be for several weeks to come due to the pain. I will keep you all updated on the news about the kidney they removed by end of the month when I meet up with them at hospital.
I have been advised by my own GP as well as other Doctors and Medical Staff who are parents to my pupils to hold off teaching for at least another 2 weeks.
2/2/24: Having spent the best part of the day and evening in hospital due to severe pain they wanted me to stay in over the weekend. I was given an MRI and it confirmed that L5 disk bulge and nerves were being pressed upon.It's not just the pain from the operation site but the damage caused by lying on the table for 5 hours has done considerable nerve damage. This seems worse than the operation.
I decided to go home and was advised to continue with Morphine type medication and speak with my Doctor on Monday. I had to cancel Friday and Saturday Students.
5/2/24: My Doctor has put me on Morphine type patches and has advised I do not return to work for a further 2 weeks due to the pain and the numbness in the lower half of my body. Sadly the medication I am taking is not helping me and I have now 1 and 1/2 patches on to cope with the pain.
It is very hard for me to walk. I'm not sure if I have a hernia due to the weakness on my left side. This will now have to be investigated.
8/2/24: My staples are to come out and I have to rest for a further week.
Lessons have now resumed:
12/2/24: I have started my tuition again with ALL pupils. Not expecting you all to be great but just do your best and we can take it from there.
20/2/24 Hospital Visits: Post Op
Hospital told me I had a Grade 4 Clear Cell Cancer Stage 1. So now I will be monitored every 6 months and have CT scans chest and stomach.
The good news is that they removed all cancer but that the operation was tricky to remove the kidney with the Cancer.
They left the adrenal glands intact. This is good.
All in all very happy that they gave me this great news today. They could not do anything about my back as that will need to be sorted out either through time or another Dept. I now await an appointment to discuss if I need spinal surgery and if so when. They are requesting this as an emergency.
It turns out that my right Kidney is doing better than both kidneys were combined. Just need to keep it that way.
Will take around 6 months for full recovery. However, I will slowly be trying to get back into my fitness. If I have spinal surgery it is going to throw me out probably till October. I will however, still continue to teach, when suitable.
Mediterranean diet is the way forward. I’ve already started losing weight since the operation and now getting used to the occasional drink, more water and vegetables and olive oil.
🙏❤️ John x