Having not written anything for the last couple of years, because of health problems, I’ve decided to resume writing at this time, because if I don’t do it now then I probably won’t do it at all….where the subject will be my experiences with cancer. I don’t think I intend it to be all doom and gloom, as that’s not how I want this ride to be. However I will probably share the pitfalls I experience during my journey…to who knows where!
I was diagnosed in April 2015 with advanced bowel cancer, which had spread to my lymph nodes and attached to my pancreas – which was not cancerous, but still meant that half of it would have to be removed. After a lengthy hospital stay and four operations I was told I was ‘cancer free’. I never believed that of course, and I didn’t rejoice in my ‘cure’, as I knew, like we all do, that once you have been diagnosed with cancer anywhere, then it takes more than a bottle of pills and a few days in bed to get rid of it. Where the very nature of the disease means there’s always the possibility it may come back at sometime, in a different part of the body.
I’ve always had problems with depression and anxiety, and indeed last year, whilst in hospital, I went into a deep black hole that contaminated my whole being, where the depression affected my thinking more than having cancer did. And it broke me more than anything else has in the past. I was a prisoner, in a situation I didn’t want, and could not escape from. After five months I accepted the anti-depressants that the psychiatrist offered me. In fact I nearly tore them out of his hand, I felt so desperate. I planned my suicide, I didn’t want to exist like this and suffer more pain. I wondered how I would cope at the end…when my time came to step off the cancer train and fall into the arms of the heavenly bodies we hope are there waiting for us when we pass over. I say hope, because whatever you believe, and I thought I’d had evidence that our spiritual friends do actually exist, we will never truly know until our time comes, to find out the truth will we!
In April I was told that cancer has spread to my peritoneum and liver. ‘That’s it’ I thought, ‘I’m not one of the lucky ones who got away with it!’. It has taken all of these months, with various scans and tests, for me to make up my mind to accept palliative chemo treatment. It’s in my bloodstream so I doubt if there will be any more ops…which I’m pleased about. Having ‘it’ cut out and took away might sound appealing, but ‘it’s not possible in my case’ the doctors tell me.
Yet now, as time passed and I started to feel stronger and better, my mood is confusing to me. I don’t feel scared or worried. I thought, knowing how I used to suffer with anxiety before, that during this experience I would be terrified…but I’m not, and it feels sort of surreal. I wondered if I was in denial, but I don’t think I am. I don’t want to constantly focus on it, or talk about it, as my ethos is that I will deal with events as they occur…for now anyway!
Accepting chemo has been a really hard decision to make, and I did lots of research on-line for various alternatives. I was looking for one of the wonder cures that are written about on various sites, but nothing seemed plausible. Bicarbonate of soda cures, vitamin cures, diet cures…the list goes on. Nothing was helpful to me. In fact it confused and worried me even more, where people were saying how ‘chemo kills more people than it cures’, that ‘chemo causes other cancers to rise in the body’ etc. I didn’t know what to believe. And THAT was terrifying!
The oncologist and Macmillan nurse gave the expected response when I tried to talk to them about the alternative to chemo options…’There is no evidence’…’You shouldn’t believe what you read on the web’. But how can I trust what the doctors tell me…as I know they are also fallible!
I’ve been told, very enthusiastically by the oncologist – who ‘legally had to inform me of the possible risks’, that chemo…’could kill me’…‘will make my hair fall out’…’will make me feel very ill’, so have I got that to look forward to? We’ll have to wait and see, as I bit the bullet and tomorrow, Monday, I start chemo…that’s as long as there is a bed available on the cancer ward. I am worried about it…it feels like it will kill me…which of course it will, by killing off both the bad and good cells. But it doesn’t mean to say it will physically kill me does it? And the medical staff assure me the immune system will recover eventually.
My first-line treatment is chemo once a fortnight, for three months. They hope it will extend my life…so do I…! The pic line I had fitted a few weeks ago became infected after three days, so that meant another week in hospital on loads of antibiotics meaning the pic line had to be removed. Which delayed things a little. So I must spend a couple of days in hospital for treatment until the pic line is fitted again, then I think it can be done in day stay.
For now this is a brief update of my situation. I hope to write more during my journey on the cancer train, which i have been on for some time now, where I discover the different platforms I’m forced to embark upon – with different problems I must overcome. I know I’m not alone…cancer has become an epidemic that affects everyone in one way or another. And although when I was first diagnosed I didn’t intend that cancer would dominate my life, it does…as everything is directed around ‘it’, and the effects it has on my life and that of my family and friends.
I have to ensure I don’t treat ‘it’ as the enemy…even though it is, as I can’t afford to emotionally let myself feel the pain and distress that could disable me further, draining my energy, leaving me even more powerless against my anxious thoughts. Yet even though this is happening to me, which is hard for me to believe, I still want to feel happy, good, positive…and more importantly…alive! There’s time fore everything else later – but not now!
I will keep you posted…!
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