My health experience - Kevin Sheedy: I am pinching myself sometimes as to whether it happened
I had the operation in Aintree hospital where the staff were tremendous, explaining everything and providing a lot of reassurance.
I was measured up beforehand for where they were going to put a bag in and I was told about the possibility of radiotherapy, the possibility of chemotherapy . . . but until they actually did the operation they weren’t able to tell for sure what they would have to do.
It wasn’t until I woke up that the surgeon came in and told me that they had removed the tumour without breaking through the wall. They hadn’t found anything else but they wanted to do some tests on what they’d removed.
Later they told me the tumour had probably been growing there for nine years; I couldn’t believe it.
I didn’t need any radiotherapy. I didn’t need any chemotherapy. I didn’t need a bag. So everything came out 100 per cent positive.
The surgeon said that I was probably looking at two to three months before I’d be able to start back at work and basically I was in hospital for another two to three days, just walking up and down the ward.
They won’t let you out until you’ve gone to the toilet, so to speak. Once I was able to do that then I was able to go home. I had the stitches out the following week and then had about two months of recovery, just basically staying in the house. I didn’t get about much but friends called around to keep my spirits up and it seemed next to no time that I was back in work.
I started back on light duties, just watching the training and that, then eased my way back into it. I’ve adapted my coaching style very slightly but nothing has changed really.
I’m still out there coaching the players which is what I love doing. I’ve been very fortunate that it hasn’t affected me at all. I’m still able to do my job. In fact, it all seems a bit surreal now, it went that smoothly. I’m pinching myself sometimes as to whether it really happened.
I had a test just before Christmas and another a couple of months ago and they’ve all come back clear. I’ll be having an MRI scan 12 months after the operation so that’ll be coming up in the not-too-distant future but so far it’s all going remarkably well.
I’m doing some awareness work now for a couple of different bowel cancer charities to make people more aware. I received a letter from a lady to thank me for an article that I did that made her husband go to his GP after realising that he had the same symptoms that I was talking about.
I was delighted. I know from experience now how important making that first move is.
In conversation with Emmet Malone