I had a large hepatocellular carcinoma (cancerous liver tumour) and without immediate surgery, I would have died, it is as simple as that.
After being referred to Professor Peter Lodge by my gastroenterologist, I had a ‘left hepatic trisectionectomy’ which basically involved the surgical removal of 75-85 percent of my liver.
"Left hepatic trisectionectomy is regarded as the most difficult of all major liver operations so it is rarely done. In most centres Mike would have been regarded as having inoperable disease"
Professor Peter Lodge
What was my experience like?
Well, firstly, without the operation I wouldn't be typing this.
Peter is not at all a stereotypical consultant - he is more like your mate in the pub – someone you can sit and have a pint with. His matter-of-fact yet calm and thoughtful approach made me feel totally at ease despite the stakes (it was touch and go).
From the day I met him I just felt that if anyone could deal with the problem this was the guy to do it, and after the surgery he was equally fantastic. He was matter-of-fact, warm, informative and humorous - all at the same time.
Peter is a personable, highly likeable man - clearly expert at what he does, but more than that he is just...a nice bloke. I'm finding it quite hard to put this into words but he made a life threatening situation feel like something akin to having a tooth out, but did not withhold any of the risks involved or minimise what was at stake.
How has it changed my life?
In a word “totally”. It is fairly straightforward - I would not be here without it.
Since the surgery (in 2005), it spurred me on to start my own business.
I've travelled to Africa - four times now to the Sahara - a place I now love.
I've been on Masterchef, I've climbed mountains both here and abroad (which I hadn't done before). I've learnt to weld, I've learnt how to fix cars and 4x4 vehicles and modify them – I have done things which I never even considered before.
Each year since the surgery I've had a CT scan. 2011 was the first year without, though I am due one in 2012. Last time I saw Peter was in 2010 for my scan results (clear) and one thing really touched me. My file was on his desk and it was open. In it was a handmade card (a greetings type card). I knew that due to the style of card it was from my mother. I can only assume it was a thank you type card but it was incredibly touching that he had kept it in the file.
As I said earlier, I've met lots of consultants. Some nice ones, some not so nice. But Peter is simply not your typical consultant, he's more like a mate you would go to in a time of crisis because you know he's able to help with it. And to me he is Peter, he isn't "Professor Lodge", because despite his expertise and qualifications, I don't view him with formality because he is really just a great guy with an incredible talent, both surgically, and from a social perspective in terms of dealing with people.
Words can't really express what a pleasure (what a word for the circumstances!) it was to meet Peter, to deal with him and to continue to deal with him 6 years after the event.