In end of January 2020 I started to notice night sweats and major fatigue. The night sweats were not your normal hot summer weather sweats. It was just my head, neck and shoulders. I had no other symptoms. No major worrying bowel changes. However, looking back my stools were thinner. But who worries about that.
I finally relented around early March and went to my GP for some blood test and found my iron levels were low. I had a couple of iron infusions but little improvement.
My GP requested a FOB test which showed blood in my stool on all three samples. Next step was a colonoscopy. My GP thought I may have had a polyp that was bleeding.
On August 4th 2020 I had a colonoscopy. Still drowsy from the anaesthetic I was told they found a tumour in my ascending colon. The CT scan that day showed that it was a 7cm long mass and I had two 1.5cm lesions in my liver. A biopsy confirmed it was cancer.
After that it was a whirlwind of doctors, scans and specialist appointments.
I had chemotherapy first before surgery. I had a port inserted on the 13th of September and started chemo on the 14th of September. I started on FOLFOX which while working really well to shrink the liver lesions caused neuropathy in my feet and dehydration because I couldn't tolerant much fluids. Anything cold would be painful and I was losing more then I was taking in. My oncologist tried me on a lower dose but eventually changed me to FOLFIRI.
I spent my fortieth birthday recovery from chemo.
On the 5th of December I had surgery, where they resected the right side of my bowel and part of my liver and removed my gallbladder. I was in hospital for 15 days. I would have to say that
the aftereffects of the surgery were the most pain I have ever been in.
They gave me the ‘all clear’ from cancer but I still needed mop up chemo of FOLFIRI. Unfortunately I developed a clot in my right arm which also clotted off my port. I then went on oral chemo.
I was going ok. I had been off chemo for about three weeks when I developed sudden pain to my liver region and a low-grade temperature.
A follow up CT scan and PET scan showed that the cancer had come back in my liver. I had another resection of my liver in September the 4th 2021 during the height of COVID times in Sydney. So, I couldn't have visitors for the two weeks I was there. This surgery was a lot easier. Still not great but so much better than last time.
In November 18th 2021 I was told I was incurable and that I will have to be on chemo for the rest of my life. The two-month post-surgery CT scan showed again the cancer was back in my liver as big as before, due to rapid growth. Again, I went back on orals until I could get a another port put back in as my other port had to be removed.
The PET scan I had in January this year showed the cancer had also spread to my lumber spine. Currently I am on FOLFIRI again, rocking my baldy look.
I know I was one of the lucky ones, my GP didn't mess around. However, so many people haven't been that lucky. My hope is that there is more education given to doctors to make them understand that there is no such thing as too young.
Cancer has changed me both negatively and positively.... negatively, obviously the trauma and side effects of treatment have a big impact on your mental and physical health. On the other side however, I have learned to better appreciate the simple things more. I say yes more. I care less about how I'm perceived...life is definitely too short and precious.