Thursday 22nd November 1990   Morning surgery  10.00 

“You were right, Dr Lewis, it was a tumour.” Mr Gwilym smiled uncomfortably.
“I was very worried about you.”
“I went to see the Mr Langford, yesterday. He said it’s oesophageal cancer.”
“Yes,” Dr Lewis nodded.
“He can’t remove it because it has spread into the glands in my chest. My liver is alright, though: I’ve had a scan. Mr Langford said that these tumours can grow very quickly or very slowly. If it’s a quick grower, I’ve probably got a few months. If it’s a slow grower, I could live a year or two.”
“It is very hard to predict these things. It could be somewhere in between.”
“I know. That would give me 9 months. That’s what I’m aiming for.” Mr Gwilym took a big breath and sighed.

“How’s Gwen?” Dr Lewis asked.
“She was distraught when he told us. She was much more upset than me. I had tried to warn her but it was still a complete shock. She wanted to come with me, today.”
“You should have brought her.”
“No, you know what would have happened. I couldn’t bear to see you both in tears.”
Dr Lewis went bright red. I looked at the floor.

“Next Tuesday, they are going to put a plastic tube into my oesophagus so I can swallow food again. That’s all they can do.”
“It will help.” Dr Lewis reassurred him.
“Yes, I am hoping I can manage a couple more steak sandwiches.”
“I don’t know about that! You would need to chew the steak very carefully, Mr Gwilym. It could block the tube.”
“What about bacon? Streaky bacon?”
“That might be better.”

“Mr Langford said he would leave things like painkillers to you and Dr Dennis.”
“Yes, that’s fine. We will keep a close eye on you. You can come here and see us regularly.”

Oesophageal cancer.
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