Lee Baker – My robotic surgery
My name is Lee baker and I had been ill for over 8 years, being sick up to 20 times a day, whilst being under the care of specialists in my home town of Margate in Kent. After having extensive tests I was told there was nothing wrong with me, that it was all in my head.
My wife was reading the Sun newspaper when she read an article about a woman whose condition sounded just like mine, the article mentioned Broomfield Hospital and Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan the surgeon who saved her life with his amazing robotic surgery.
Following a visit to my GP, I asked for a referral to see this surgeon, and within a month had an appointment with Mr Kadirkamanathan. We were scared, but also hopeful that he may be able to shed some light on my illness.
Within six weeks I was called back to Broomfield Hospital to be told the news that they knew what was wrong with me. I had a condition something called Gastroparesis which meant my stomach muscles were not working and my stomach wasn't emptying, hence the sickness.
We were told we were unable to get the funding for surgery, which would cost about £16,000, so friends decided to set up a Just Giving page, along with staged events and a fundraising auction and by April this year we had reached our target. With the funds now in place as a private patient, I was given the date of 23 August for my operation.
By the time my operation came around my weight had dropped from 18 stone down to just eight.
My potassium levels had dropped so low that my operation was cancelled, due to the high risk of surgery. I was admitted on to a ward and had potassium pumped in to my body. Mr Kadirkamanathan came in every day, including his days off and the bank holiday weekend, to personally check that everything was going well.
Following my successful surgery on 29 August I had a small meal of soup, and the next day toast and yogurt. I wasn’t sick after either meal.
I was released from hospital the following day, and as the weeks have gone by I starting to regain some of my weight, and my diabetes has also retracted and is now stable.
Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan and his wonderful team have given me my life back, words can never describe my feelings for them and everything that has been done for me and my family.
I agreed to be filmed for the discovery channel documentary, so that it can highlight my rare illness and to show other patients that when you are told there is nowhere to go or there is no help out there, there is hope, and mine was Mr Sri Kadirkamanathan and Broomfield Hospital.
With your support we can put Broomfield Hospital on the map as surgical innovators in Essex; you can donate to the JustGiving page to help raise 1.5 million pounds to buy another robot to allow more people a chance of a normal life like myself and the other people that Mr Kadirkamanathan has helped with this surgery. https:www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/midessexhospitals/surgicalbot
Fundraising couple twirl their way around the dance floor to raise £1,800 for our robotic surgery appeal
A fundraising couple have twirled their way around the dance floor to raise £1,800 for our robotic surgery appeal.
Diane Whitelaw and Graham Christie held their charity dance at Hamptons Sport and Leisure on August 18.
Guests enjoyed an evening of ballroom, Latin and sequence dancing, plus a raffle.
The couple were inspired to fundraise for the appeal after Graham underwent robotic surgery.
Diane said: “The evening was a great success, more so than we could ever have imagined. Everyone was happy and loved the music and dancing.
“We are grateful to everyone who was involved, including those who attended, contributed donations and offered raffle prizes. Special thanks go to Currys PC World for donating the Amazon Echo which raised £100 in our silent auction.
“We would also like to thank the following local businesses: ASDA (SWF); Boots; Claremont Garden Centre (Maldon); Jems Dance & Party; Majestic Wine; Morrisons (Maldon); Odeon Cinema; Pizza Express, Prezzo; Sainsburys; Secret Garden Tea Rooms; Tesco; Vintage Inns (Fox and Raven, Chelmsford); Waterstones; and Wyvale Garden Centre.
“This was our first attempt at running such an event and we are extremely grateful for the guidance and support received from the Mid Essex Hospitals NHS Trust Charity team.”
Graham’s Story: “Funding the robot is so important”
Graham Christie, 74, from Bicknacre
“In February 2015, I visited Cuba for the third time. It has beautiful beaches, glorious weather, interesting architecture, friendly people...but the food was dreadful! I contracted food poisoning towards the end of my holiday, returning home to discover it was campylobacter, which did not respond to the antibiotics prescribed. I was very lucky that my GP at the Danbury Medical Centre was ‘on the ball’. He acted immediately and within two weeks I'd been given a colonoscopy, CT scan and MRI scan, complete with results. I could not have had better treatment.
“The colonoscopy identified a small cancer in my rectum, in a difficult position to get to. I was fast tracked for surgery and an opportunity arose for the operation to be carried out by Mr Shahab Siddiqi, who suggested robotic surgery.
“At the end of August 2015, I had the operation, which lasted nine hours and included removal of the tumour, repair to a hernia and the fitting of a stoma bag (ileostomy). Fortunately neither chemotherapy nor radiotherapy was required.
“After eight days in Broomfield Hospital, with nurses who went beyond the call of duty in their care of each patient, I was ready to return home and face life with a stoma bag. Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I made a conscious decision to continue with life as normal. It took a while to regain my fitness levels but I was soon dancing again (I teach with my partner Diane), rambling with my local walking group and swimming.
“Nine months after my operation, I took a two and a half hour flight to enjoy a holiday in Sorrento and revisited the following year. I also took my grandchildren and their family to Tenerife in November 2016. A year later, I flew 12 hours to Mauritius and coped extremely well.
“Earlier this year during February/March I was even more adventurous, as Diane and I visited Singapore then went on to Perth, Sydney and Cairns where we experienced white water rafting, amongst other activities. I hope my story will bring inspiration to new ostomates and anyone feeling reluctant to pursue life with the same vigour as before. Don't let it stand in your way.
“Funding the robot is so important.”
‘Our Charity’ is calling on the community to rally together for our £1.5million appeal to fund the upgrading of the robotic surgery service at Broomfield Hospital, including a state-of-the-art new surgical robot and the continued use of surgical robotics.
There is significant evidence that demonstrates a number of advantages for patients who have benefited from surgery with the surgical robot compared to conventional surgical techniques including:
•Shorter hospital stays
•Immediate effects during recovery
•Precision surgery (overcoming limitations of laparoscopic surgery)
Your support will put Broomfield Hospital firmly on the map as surgical innovators in Essex.
You can donate to our appeal, ‘Rally Together for the Robot’, here: