back in caring role after op

A retired engineer is back on his feet thanks to a surgical procedure to reconstruct his abdominal wall. Sophie McCandlish reports.

A retired engineer is back caring for his wife after successful surgery to reconstruct his abdomen.

Adrian York took early retirement from career a which took him across the world working on oil rigs, when his wife Isabel was diagnosed with multiple cancers in December 2010. But he had only been in his new role as full-time carer for his wife for a year before he started to experience his own health problems.

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Adrian, 66, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in January 2012 and the couple’s roles were reversed, with Isabel caring for her husband.

After immunotherapy treatment had failed, Adrian underwent surgery to remove his bladder and prostate in January 2014. But ten days later the incision opened up and he developed a deep-seated infection in the wound.

Adrian said he was spending up to 16 hours a day in bed and due to his immobility, his six lower vertebrae locked together which meant he 
was unable to drive and had difficulty walking.

In January 2015, Adrian said he became aware that something was very wrong with his abdomen which had dropped and became misshapen. A check-up revealed he had an incisional hernia.

“Several doctors I saw said there was nothing they could do for me. It was very frustrating and I did not know where to turn for help.”

One consultant suggested he might need abdominal reconstruction. Adrian said he went home and did some research on the condition, which led him to Spire Leeds Hospital and consultant colorectal surgeon Ian Botterill who specialises in abdominal wall construction and complex hernia surgery.

Adrian said: “I asked him just three questions, ‘What is it? Can it be fixed? And if so, can you do it?’”

“Adrian had a large incisional hernia (hernia through an old wound site) which caused him back and abdominal pain and prevented him from bending over,” Mr Botterill said.

He carried out a bilateral abdominal wall reconstruction and parastomal hernia repair.

“Without surgery Adrian would have been unable to bend, move or function as much as he needed to as principal carer for his wife,” Mr Botterill said. “The day I left hospital was the first time I’d been able to walk properly in almost three years,” Adrian said. “It’s early days and I’m still healing but life is getting back to normal.”