17
Jan
2019

John M's story (diagnosed age 73, ACT)

A good news story, emphasising the importance of early detection of bowel cancer.

Early in January 2018, aged 73, I was fit and well, then progressively I got a blocked prostate, the excruciatingly painful and debilitating Guillain Barré-Syndrome, (GBS), VRE and E-coli.

It was an awful 6 months, partially spent in 5 hospitals.

Slowly I recovered from each of these health challenges.

I have written up those experiences with a view to helping those going through the very dark tunnel, that is GBS.

On 3 August 2018 (six months post GBS) my neurologist was satisfied with my recovery and said he does not need to see me again.

My GBS (and bowel cancer) story can be found here.

Following a government-supplied, free, bowel screening test, a colonoscopy (which was delayed, I was told, because I still had VRE (another shock)), biopsies, an MRI (my 4th this year), a CT scan and blood tests, I was told on 8 August 2018 that I have an early-stage, lower-bowel cancer.

I could not believe it. All previous bowel tests have been OK. Thought my system had still not settled down following my traumatic year. The surgeon said the cancer is not related to those events.

The surgeon said the cancer can be removed lapriscopically. I am to have an operation on 27 August, in my 6th hospital. I said to the surgeon, if it takes more than laparoscopy - do it.

I was told the operation will take 4 hours.

He said there is an 80% chance that I will not need chemotherapy and that I will take around three months to recover.

Had my bowel surgery. All went well. I am now hooked up with the following plumbing - a temporary, for three months, stoma - a temporary, for three months, direct bladder catheter - a saline drip - a Panadol drip - oxygen tubes up my nostrils - and inflating / deflating compression stockings on my legs to minimise DVT. I am comfortable and not in too much pain.

In a week after the biopsies are concluded, I will find if I need chemotherapy.

Saturday 1st September, I have just received great news from the surgeon – I will not need chemotherapy as they have removed the bowel cancer tumour and have discovered that the lymph nodes are all clear. Fantastic. Fantastic.

I was also told yesterday, that I do not have VRE. (At last - No more yellow gowns) Fantastic. Fantastic.

I believe God continues to look after me.

Please take bowel cancer screening seriously, for males, for females, for young and old. It can save your life. Get it before the cancer spreads all-over, and before it is all-over. You can ask your GP to arrange for a free test to be done at your local pathology centre. Harass your friends about the importance of early detection.

The surgeon has just said that I am doing better than expected. Will be here in hospital until next Thurs. I believe God continues to look after me.

Bit of recovery to go, with 3 months before the temporary stoma and the Supra Public Catheter (SPC) are both removed. I fully intend to be back to normal.

Update: Following bowel cancer surgery on 27 August 2018 and stoma reversal on 30 Jan 2019, I am progressing well. I’m now almost back to normal and my bowel function just about 100%.

Once again: Please take bowel cancer screening seriously, for males, for females, for young and old. It can save your life.

With love

John

 

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