I was a very fit and healthy 47-year-old who never showed any symptoms of Cancer. Nothing at all.
I had my life in front of me. Lots of adventures and travel planned with my partner. Two beautiful girls, who as adults were doing their thing.
Suddenly in 2019 I became ill in January and ended up in hospital with diverticulitis (misdiagnosed). I had another admission in February and was again misdiagnosed. Then in April I was admitted again with a blocked bowel.
At this point in time, I was still going to the toilet as normal and apart from stomach pains had no other symptoms.
I had a Hartmann’s Procedure so came out of surgery with a colostomy bag. Not ideal but I was told it was only temporary, not permanent.
And I am alive.
During surgery they removed part of my bowel, my left ovary and Fallopian tube, the top of my bladder and 26 lymph nodes to be checked. As well as a grapefruit sized tumour.
Unbeknown to me this was to be cancerous, so a week after surgery I’m doing good looking at getting discharged but then they came in with the devastating news the tumour was a grade 3 bowel cancer tumour (I didn’t know that straight away) and 19 of my lymph nodes were cancer.
I left the hospital a broken person and didn’t know how to process it very well.
I started chemo in the May 2019 for six months, and that was the hardest thing to process. I had the infusion by canula.
My side effects from the chemo, which I still suffer with today to some extent, were brain fog, fatigue and the worst is peripheral neuropathy. I have trouble still with hot and cold sensations, pins and needles, no feeling in my feet, burning in my feet and constantly having to check my toes are still attached to my feet!
I finished chemo in October 2019. Thankfully, I completed the full course and didn’t have to change dosage etc. Some aren’t so lucky.
I still had my colostomy bag and in January 2020 I was supposed to have a reversal of bowel resection. But due to the hospital waiting list and my surgeon wanting to hold off, it was postponed until April. Then with COVID-19 I was put back to June.
My colonoscopy was clear, but my CT scan wasn’t. They found a spot in my peritoneal cavity so I had a PET scan and a laparoscopy to check for the spot they found. But it was up behind my urethra tube.
Finally, in November 2020 I had my reversal surgery and the spot removed at the same time. It turned out to be a fatty cyst, so not cancerous. I thought all my Christmases has come at once.
Today I have ‘no evidence of disease’ and I have to be on constant watch from my Oncologist. But once every 3 months and a blood test I can live with.
I have kicked cancer’s ass and I will continue to do that no matter what.
I have learnt I am a very strong and determined person, with a fantastic support person and also a great support team of my two daughters and family and friends.