My husband was diagnosed with advanced Stage D cancer at age 32.
We had only been married four years at this stage. He was officially diagnosed in Feb of 2018 (when our daughter was 18 months old), after over 18 months of debilitating pain, seeing doctors and specialists who all kept dismissing him telling him nothing was wrong with him, including his regular GP, who knew him better than the rest, as he’d been going to this GP all his life.
He believed them, thinking it may have been side effects to some medications he was using. But it kept getting worse. So, he kept going back to other doctors, until one doctor finally paid attention to his claims, and investigated further. At which point, the cancer was discovered.
It was only then that we discovered that bowel cancer ran in his family. Two of my husband’s great uncles had it, his mother had it (but not so far advanced, and she survived), and my husband.
The next two years were filled with anything and everything we could try to help with the pain, and possible cure.
He had a port put in his chest to make chemo supposedly easier, so he didn’t have to keep getting canula’s put in.
He had a stoma created to prevent the need for an emergency trip, if the cancer decided to react and block him off completely.
We did lots of research, and since we had nothing to lose, tried everything. It was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting.
He was in and out of hospital numerous times, his oncologist had to keep ‘upping’ his pain medication to an incredible amount. He was in an unbelievable amount of pain! The last time he was in hospital he was in for a stoma reconstruction. After the surgery, his Oncologist gave us bad news. Once they opened him up, they found so much more cancer that didn’t appear on scans that if they’d attempted to remove it, based on where it was, they would risk him dying on the operating table.
This was the last operation they would do. He would spend the remainder of his days not knowing what would happen and fighting it. He wanted to come home, but practically, that would not have worked well. He would have died sooner.
He died just over five weeks later. He was 34. Six days away from his 35th birthday. He was diagnosed less than two years earlier.
He was in palliative care for the rest of his days. His medication (morphine based) kept getting increased on a regular basis yet again. I can’t imagine the pain he would have been in if he did not have that medication constantly on tap.
The lesson here, is if you are in pain, and you suspect something is wrong, keep going back. Get second opinions, third, fourth. Don’t accept one doctors dismissal. If you believe something is wrong, fight until you get answers. Even if it takes a long time.
My husband was very strong, fighting this, but the cancer was too advanced. He couldn’t win as it was too far advanced.
Second, KNOW YOUR FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY. It could LITERALLY save your life! Had we known that bowel cancer was hereditary, we would have had tests done sooner, and perhaps caught it before it became so advanced.