I dont know if this will be helpful to anyone facing the shock and brutality of a cancer diagnosis, but I can now document what were my 3 darkest days and give hope that things can improve from a very dodgy start.
August 17 day of the colonoscopy. Remember feeling strangely calm. Partly because of the blood test results just in from my GP which showed everything was normal…. I was sedated and then taken into the a room with sponge bob on the ceiling and a screen and I prepared to meet the insides of my large bowel. Alas, I have the constitution of a horse and the sedation didnt really work so I was fullly conscious and aware all the way through. I saw the ugly tumour and heard the words “take a biopsy and arrange an urgent CT scan”. The next thing I remember was being back in my room with my mum, dad and partner and my surgeon showing me a picture of my tumour as if it was a scan of my baby. With absolutely no softening of the pill, he told me I had a ‘nasty cancer’ and he was sending me down for CT scan to see where it had spread. He added for extra effect that he wasnt sure at this stage whether he would be able to operate. My mum was glued to the phone, telling my brother. I was told to come back tomorrow for results. We went home, my brother arrived and we all ate a chinese takeaway and slept over at mine, courtesy of tamazepan. I dont remember anymore.
18 August returned with an even larger support team this time including my brother. Again there was no gentle run in. “it’s here in your bowel. And we think it is also in your liver which means its advanced” sucking in of cheeks and shaking of head. “And it also looks like its in your lymph as you can see they are enlarged which means it could be anywhere else at this moment in your body”, more shaking of head and sighing. “I am sending you for a MRI scan now to look more into the liver”. My father helped my mother out, I don’t remember us speaking, but she told me my face had taken on the look of granite as I listened intently. All I can remember is the biting cold and greyness of the english summer. As I waited for the MRI scan which was in a mobile unit in the car park, I couldnt stop shivering. More blankets were offered but nothing helped. I have never felt more scared than the 45 minutes I spent in that scanner. We left, stopped at the George Inn in Great Missenden and ordered a round of brandies. My father didnt want one as he doesnt like brandy but we all bullied him into knocking one back. I dont remember anymore.
19 August – darkest day. Told the children. There are no words to describe this.
I have since undergone 2 major operations to remove the primary bowel tumour and affected lymph glands and the secondary liver tumour and I can honestly say nothing came close to those 3 days. I was lucky to have 2 excellent surgeons and both operations by keyhole surgery. Things are improving everyday. My PET scan was clear and now all I await is the chemo to mop up and hopefully prevent any reoccurance.
Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.