My Story … so far.
In November 2012, I had bleeding from the bowel and pains in my stomach. I saw Doctor #1, who dismissed it as a possible infection and prescribed me antibiotics. A week later I visited Doctor # 2, who referred me for a CAT scan because he was convinced I had Diverticulitis. I had the scan done, and there were Diverticulitis pockets present. However the results also showed a ‘thickening’ in my bowel. Doctor #2 referred me to a specialist, who wasn’t able to see me until late December.
The pains were worsening and the blood loss from the bowel was increasing, so I decided to see Doctor #3, who could see the need to act quickly, and he was able to move my Specialist appointment forward to a week’s time.
Whilst I was waiting for the appointment, the pain became unbearable, (I would describe the pain as being similar to extreme labour pains), and I was admitted into hospital. At this point, the hospital was still treating me for Diverticulitis!!!
I saw the Specialist whilst I was still in hospital, and he was able to get me in for a colonoscopy by the end of that week. Still, at no time did any of these doctors think I had Bowel Cancer. However, results from the colonoscopy were: a 5cm cancerous tumour, which the Specialist said had been growing for at least 4 years!!!! That was the day my life changed forever.
I was then referred to a wonderful Surgeon, who booked me in for a PET scan to make sure the cancer had not spread to any of my other organs; I was lucky enough because it had not spread. Surgery followed 2 weeks later to remove the tumour and surrounding lymph nodes, and at this point I was still hopeful that the surgery would be the end of it, the tumour would be out, and I would require no further treatment. However, I was wrong!
I spent a week in hospital recovering from the surgery, and two weeks later the results came back and showed that the cancer had spread to 3 of the 24 lymph nodes they had removed, which meant I would need to undergo 6 months of Chemotherapy.
A few days before my 30th Birthday my bowels twisted, and it was straight back to hospital for me!!! Tubes were inserted and I was back on a dreaded ‘NIL by mouth’ diet, followed by a liquid diet a few days later. Lucky for me, the bowel untwisted on its own, and no further surgery was required. I was finally let out on the day of my 30th birthday!
I started Chemo in the beginning of January, and I’ve just completed cycle 6. I’m half way there and I only have 6 rounds of Chemo to go!
Through testing, it was also discovered that my tumour is heredity, and I have Lynch Syndrome. What this means is that I carry a gene, which was likely passed onto me, and in turn, it can be passed on to my children. Through genetic testing, my kids and other family members can be tested to see if they carry the same gene, and if so, they can then be screened with regular colonoscopies for early detection.
After I finish Chemotherapy, it will be necessary for me to have regular colonoscopies and body scans to make sure the cancer doesn’t return. The Doctor from the genetic team has also advised me that they recommend that I have my ovaries, uterus and tubes removed before I’m 35 because people with Lynch Syndrome have a higher chance of developing these forms of cancer, and they want to eliminate that risk. I’m ok with that because I’ve had my three beautiful children.
There have been many challenges for me since being diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, but the thing that really breaks my heart is watching the affect it has on my children and on my family. My family had to deal with the death of my sister 4 years ago, and I never thought we would have to face that sort of pain again. But now, they are all going through this with me too. My husband is doing so much to be there for me, and this means that there are many days when he also has to work over 12 hour days to make up for the time he takes off when he has to take me to the Chemotherapy treatments, or the days he has to take off because I am too sick to care for our children.
My kids are being angels while I’m sick from the Chemo, even though they fully don’t understand what is going on. However, I can see that this is having an affect on them. My eldest, Miss 5 wakes with nightmares, screaming out for me, and every time I go to a doctor’s appointment, she asks me if I will be coming home. My second eldest, Master 3 always asks when I will be better, and I keep reassuring him that I am better; they are just giving me medicine to make sure I never get sick again. And whilst my youngest, Master 1, is too young to know what’s going on, it still made me sad when I had to stop breastfeeding him suddenly when I was first admitted to hospital. However, he is such a good baby, and he did great job adjusting to the bottle, given that the breastfeeding stopped so suddenly for him.
So … this is my story so far, and I have to say that I couldn’t have gotten though any of it without the wonderful support I receive every hour of the day from my amazing family, my friends, and new friends that have come into my life since I have been diagnosed with Cancer. This is also a good opportunity for me to thank you all for your love and support.
Posted by crystal123, 10th April 2013