Tuesday, 27 November 2007


This blog was always intended to amuse rather than to attempt any sort of profundity, but the response from so many of you regarding Tom's operation has been so remarkable and moving that I feel I owe you an update.

Tom's improving slowly following an operation that turned out to be significantly less straightforward than expected. Put baldly, it looked as if we were going to lose him.

We didn't.

Following the repeated delays of the NHS, the decision was taken to follow the route of private treatment. My unbelievable brother made this possible and, as a result, almost certainly saved Tom's life. The operation was scheduled for Sunday morning under Professor Garth Cruickshank. He discovered an abnormal blood supply to the tumour and made immediate arrangements for transfer to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Attempts to embolise the tumour were only partially successful, but Prof C's judgement was that it had to be removed, at the risk of a fatal bleed, as leaving it in place was a significantly greater risk. Tom left for surgery at 9.00am. At 9.30pm a visibly exhausted Professor explained that the operation was complete, the tumour excised, and that the next 24 hours would be critical.

We're past that now; Tom's stable and no longer critical. He's still unconscious at the moment, but we're assured that this is normal. In the next few days we should see him back.

I'm sorry about the length of this post, and the fact that it hasn't made you laugh. But the messages of goodwill, healing and prayer that have been coming in from you guys has been unbelievable.

We apologise for the temporary fault in our sense of humour. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Thank you all.


Caroline said...

Oef...I'm happy to read everything turned out rather positive after all. I presume Tom will have a long way to go before he'll be back on his feet... I'll keep my fingers crossed until then. May everything evoluate in the right direction.
Glad your brother could arrange him private treatment (must be fun having a brother like him).
Don't YOU forget to take it easy and have enough rest & distraction, so you can be there for a 200% when the revalidation starts! He'll be needing al lot of love and care form the people he loves (and vice versa).
Take care & keep us informed! We don't mind the temporary fault in your sense of humour. It's life we're talking about (and sometimes that's serious...)

Maranta said...

God, it must have been an enormous ordeal for Tom and you all! My mother is a doctor (radiation oncology specialist) and when I read her your post (as she was worrying about Tom too) she said that, considering how difficult and long the operation was, the surgeon must have been extraordinary. As for NHS (which we know only through your terrible experience) we both can say only: inhuman.

It is such a relief to know that Tom is recovering now – with the love and support of the whole Shaw family. I believe that the worst is behind you and in the following days and weeks you will see him improving quickly. I wish him this with all my heart!

Zimble said...

Jem, thankyou for posting. I'm sure I speak for all your blog friends when I say we were waiting anxiously for news. You're in our thoughts as we look forward to when it is the time for normal services to resume.

just.for.the.group said...

Being myself a brain tumour survivor of almost twenty years I know what me and my family went through back then.

Your brother is a wondrous man, Tom is in my nightly prayers, keep on the hopes, rest assured you are not alone in your fight.

Rosie said...

I have only seen your posts about your family ordeal today, having had a motherboard failure (nasty but trivial in the light of your problems).
I cannot begin to imagine what you must have gone through in the past few weeks and especially in those hours of the operation, they must have felt interminable. As a native Midlander, I know the QEH has a very good reputation and, when the bureaucracy doesn't get in the way, some aspects of the NHS (mainly the ones involving personal commitment) work well. Unfortunately the bureaucratic aspects you have highlighted apply throughout public services these days, as I know from working a lifetime in it. It frightens me how to stop it or even get the ptb to acknowledge there is a problem. Such is the cultire of spin.
I do so hope that Tom continues to recover and that things improve rapidly. Look after yourselves - this sort of stress lays all of you open to picking up every bug going. As a family, you are obviously very close and gifted at being there for each other. Your brother did a great thing.
Sending positive vibes to you all, hope you can post now and again about progress.