The Cambridge UA branch continues to be a lively group and our monthly meetings are well attended and give us all the opportunity to encourage and support each other, find out that we are not alone and that there is very definitely life after a stoma.
At the end of July, our Treasurer organised a boat trip for us from Bedford along the River Ouse to the Barns Hotel where we enjoyed afternoon tea in lovely surroundings. The boat is the John Bunyan, a community boat which operates various similar cruises and is manned by qualified and trained volunteers, including our member Dave. We all had a great afternoon out!
We were back at our usual welcoming venue on 6th August and were able to spend time with new members. Then on 3rd September we had an excellent turnout for a talk by our President, Miss Alexandra Colquhoun, on “Changes in the Surgical Management of Bladder Cancer”, ie the use of robotic surgery at Addenbrookes in creating urinary diversions. We learned a lot about the very expensive Da Vinci Xi robot used, the very lengthy and extensive training for the surgeons using it and the benefits of having this procedure. The instruments used are extremely accurate and eliminate tremor.
Having robotic surgery does shorten recovery time as the procedure is minimally invasive, and the length of hospital stay is typically 5 nights intead of 10, there is a reduced rate of blood transfusion and there is a more rapid reaction of gut function. However, the cancer cure rate and the complication rate are the same. There are also some contraindications to having this type of surgery, including when there are a lot of adhesions and scar tissue from previous surgery and for patients with a BMI of 34+ who are significantly overweight. We all found the talk extremely informative and interesting and there were plenty of questions. Our photo shows the size of the audience!
At our October meeting we were able to tell our members about what had been discussed at the recent Branch Officers’ meeting and AGM in Sheffield. Just a few days later on 5th October, World Stoma Day, we had a stand at the Stoma Open Day at Addenbrookes and we had a good response, talking to both current members and potential new members.
We are now looking forward to our Christmas lunch on 17th December. In the meantime, Clinimed will be showing their products to our members on 5th November, and other contacts made at the Open Day will result in future attendance at our meetings.
In conjunction with our Stoma nurse and the Urostomy Association, we also hope that volunteer training can be arranged for our members offering to volunteer as “buddies” to newly diagnosed patients.
All meetings are currently suspended.