I turned 50 in November 2020, and I received my bowel screening kit (birthday present) the following week.
I lead a busy life with three adult children numerous step grandkids some of which are in my care, grand babies and a full-time job running a disability business.
I put the test on my bedside table and said I must do that!
Fast forward to May 2021 and I found the test in my drawer, so I did it there and then.
I wasn’t worried I had no changes, no symptoms so I wasn’t worried.
A week later I had a call from my GP telling me I needed to come in. He reassured me that it would all be fine and that it would be something simple.
A colonoscopy was organised for 2nd June 2021.
I remember the awful drink I had to have prior to the test! I was prepped and ready to go!
I remember waking up to my doctor (I had not met him before) he was a very large man and was leaning over the bed! I was just coming too when he patted me on the shoulder and in broken English said the words I will never forget!
You have bowel cancer!
I remember looking at him and thinking I was dreaming; I then rolled over and went back to sleep.
When I woke again a nurse was beside me, I asked her if I had seen the doctor? She relayed what the Doctor had said!
You have bowel cancer!
A CT scan was ordered straight away, and I was told the results would be sent to my GP and an oncologist!
My head was all over the place!
The next day I had a call from a surgeon saying they had a referral for me and could I make it the next day!
I left work so I could attend, I have to say I was pretty bloody scared sitting there in the waiting room. I was called in and was told about the results from the colonoscopy I was also informed that the cancer had spread to the liver and the lung.
Stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer…..
I was blank! I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t ask what next, I couldn’t say a thing!
Everything was just spinning in my head! OMG what am I meant to do with the little ones in my care? Who will look after them?
I have little grand babies will they now grow up without me?
So many things going through my mind!
I met with the oncologist and was told I needed a three-month round of kick ass chemo. A full day at the clinic and then 48 hours with a pump at home. Mmm… I can do that. I can still look after the kids and work.
I did I worked for the first two treatments then it hit me! I was wrecked. I struggled to eat, I was lethargic and had no energy. I was noticing things that I didn’t think would happen such as my hair thinning!
Fast forward the three months of chemo, I met with my team of specialists and was told that I responded extremely well to the chemo, and they wanted to start operating.
Liver first! November 19th 60% of my liver was removed. It felt like I had been hit by a truck for the first few days, but I was up and walking and was able to be discharged one week after surgery.
Home was where I needed to be to heal! I needed my family as they were the best medicine I could have.
I was lucky I was able to have a break from all treatments over Christmas which allowed me to focus on my family!
January 12th I was booked in for what was meant to be an easy bowel surgery for a resection! Sounds easy? Small cut, cut the cancer out sew it up easy as!!!
No, the resection split the next day I became very unwell and ended up having surgery again on 21st January.
This time I woke up with a huge cut right up the middle, and my worst nightmare an ileostomy bag!
I was in ICU for days but was moved to a ward on 25th January.
I started to feel really unwell, and my wound was extremely sore, I was doing everything the physio wanted me to do including doing laps of the ward! I kept saying something was wrong.
On 27th January my bandages were removed, and my bowel was sticking out of what was my sutured wound!
Back to surgery I go for the 3rd operation in nine days.
So today my cut has finally healed, my emotional wounds are healing, and I am ready for my next battle.
Chemo starts next week for a three-month round and then back to the specialists meeting to see where to next.
I know I have a long way to go but to be told at the start of this journey operating would not be an option to now having the tumours in both liver and colon removed I am ready to go into battle.
I have my days; I get scared I get angry I get really annoyed that I am having to go through this!
I then pull my big girl pants up and get on with it!
Cure is a word that is used very sparingly, usually it is we are aiming for a cure.
I can live with that! That’s the key thing I CAN LIVE WITH THAT.
I am blessed to have my beautiful family and supportive friends always with me, so I know I am not fighting this battle alone