The hospital turnstile began flicking loudly, CTs, MRIs, PET scan, blood tests. Then the infusaport, six rounds of chemo and radiation together and the side effects were numerous.
Hair thinning. Burnt butt from the radiation, cold sensations with the fingers and drinking cold stuff was a no-no. I lost weight as I thought food tasted horrible and really after driving home from treatment every day you don’t feel like doing much of anything, let alone household duties and looking after your husband.
Then the next thing to bother me was the baby bottle of poison attached to my chest and infusaport. Showers were a chore, don’t get the bottle wet, and make sure you don’t yank the needle out and the bum bag around your waist holding the blessed thing.
Surgery came and the surgeon was successful and another addition to my stomach attached a temporary colostomy bag. Now the fun started and if anyone who thinks fighting BOWEL CANCER is easy then they have not had the pleasure of a poo bag.
Six months of blowouts, leakage, smells and noises especially in public and a little carry bag when you go out to carry supplies with you if an accident happens and they usually did at first because you are so shit scared of something happening and to say the least embarrassed you think if you put it on alright.
I had another six rounds of chemo in 2016. Mop up chemo with poxy oxy they called it, added with other stuff and this time I got peripheral neuropathy which is painful 24/7. Burning feelings, numbness like sensations which felt like freezing concrete long socks.
This was when I started to wear socks permanently and shoes always - closed in shoes. Because at first I started to wear thongs but I was kicking them off not realising I had done this. My fingertips were also affected, but you have to use your feet and fingers so you deal with the pain.
But with all the aggregation and pain and mental illness and the thoughts of it returning and bowel cancer being the 2nd biggest cancer killer, you start to take a better look at your life and it does change you. As everyone knows, it’s an older person’s disease.
Now let me tell you one thing - younger people are being diagnosed, or shall I say not being diagnosed, with bowel cancer. A lot more women and that’s me and that’s when I was 52! It is a disease of lifestyle they say and that’s not true for me either. I ate healthy, exercised and the thing I can pin point my problem had started with - one word STRESS!
The more the powers that be talk to those that have been through it and are dealing with cancer; they are the ones who can tell you what it’s really like. How we deal with it before, during and especially after is a wealth of information.
I wish I never went on this cancer journey but I’m also glad I did because I learned about my body more than some can say and it’s just not a man’s disease or older person’s disease anymore, if cancer picks you, then you have no say in the decision to take that road, you survive anyway you can.