Portland surgery revives Ken's fortunes

Ken Miller
Friday, 31 August 2012
When Dartmoor’s Ken Miller received a phone call asking him to visit his doctor for the results of tests, he knew the news wasn’t going to be good.

“I had a rough idea there was something wrong,” Ken admits.

Ken had been undergoing treatment for stomach ulcers but the pills he was taking weren’t easing the pain and reflux.

After consulting Dr Robin Stewart at Heywood he was referred to Portland District Health to undergo an ultrasound.

An early stage bowel cancer was detected.

That was two days before Christmas last year. Never one to shirk a challenge, Ken, 71, was keen to act quickly.

“I just said we’d better get something done about it,” he said.

On January 9 he had an appointment with PDH surgeon Mr Thair Abbas and on January 31 he underwent a bowel resection operation.

It was a timely and successful outcome.

“I just said let’s get it done, there’s no use waiting around,” Ken said.

Ken’s successful procedure was the first laparoscopic bowel surgery undertaken in Portland and he appreciated not only the quick turnaround but also the quality of care.

He had about 300mm of his bowel and 100mm of his small bowel removed in an operation that took more than five hours.

“It was a bit longer than they originally expected because they had to take the tumor out through my stomach and remove my appendix and 12 lymph nodes.”

However, he was lucky and the quick action meant Ken’s cancer was caught and removed in the early stages. Now he is back in good health and able to support his wife Rhonda who is facing her own health problems.

Ken said he supported PDH’s campaign to get more local people using their local hospital for surgery, rather than travelling to Warrnambool

“I can’t see why people aren’t using the facilities here; it’s got me beat. I have nothing but praise for all the nurses and Mr Abbas. Everything was excellent.”

Not even a bout of pre-operation nerves could taint his positive view of the hospital. “They took my blood pressure and it was up to 180. They asked if I was a bit worried and I said my bloody oath I am,” he laughed.

Ken has recovered well from his operation, though he has resigned himself to regular CT scans and colonoscopies for the rest of his life.

He is facing future hip surgery and hopes to have it carried out in Portland, to be as close to home as possible.

STORY BY Rick Bain

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