On Friday I met with my new oncologist Professor Middleton to discuss the options available to me for my post op chemo. Professor Middleton is one of the top oncologists at the QE and treated Stephen Sutton during his battle with bowel cancer. We had a long wait whilst the team discussed whether they would use a single or combination treatment to blast any possible remaining cancer cells. My butt wasn’t happy with this wait though as I shifted around uncomfortably trying to find a way to sit down without, well, sitting down.
Despite the wait, Professor Middleton was really friendly and animated and explained in detail how they decide whether they should treat you with chemo even though you are NED (No Evidence of Disease). After the tumour was removed, they were able to properly grade my cancer which was a Dukes B. Bowel cancer has a slightly different staging then the standard 1-4 but was probably the equivalent of Stage 2, heading to a Stage 3 because of the size of the tumour. The main reasons for decided to go back to chemo seemed to be because of my age and the original size of the tumour. Being only 31, they want to make sure as much as they can that the cancer won’t return.
I had been a bit nervous about this appointment as being in contact with a lot of other bowel cancer patients, I knew the standard treatment seemed to include a drug called Oxaliplatin via PICC line combined with another chemo drug and from what I knew, people had suffered on this drug. It is vile.
The delay in my appointment was my consultant deciding whether to give me Oxi or not but luckily my crap kidneys are useful for something and he decided that I didn’t have enough function to cope with the side effects (Yay!). I will be continuing with the 5FU that I had during chemoradiation but instead of being hooked up to a drip or a pump, I will be having it as a weekly injection for the next 6 months. Hopefully this will mean that the side effects should be minimal this way and I’ll be able to continue to recover from my surgery. I’m being transferred over to Walsall Manor for treatment so that I don’t have the pain of travelling across the city each week. At least if I do feel rubbish, I know I won’t have far to go home.
On the note of my surgery, I’m now 6 weeks post op and I’m starting to get much stronger and out and about a bit. I’m still struggling to sit down but the swelling from the graft is going down so that’s positive. I’ve been really nervy about my graft as I was told by a junior doctor that I had an infection on my skin. An anxious phone call to my Colorectal Nurse and two checks later and they assure me that all is fine. Word of advice, Senior Nursing staff are usually more clued up than the doctors and more reassuring. If I’m worried about something, I will always go to them first! I’m really noticing the lack of stomach muscles and I find it difficult to sit up or get up without having to launch myself off the sofa or bed! I still get tired very quickly as well and I have to try to manage that. If I leave it too long before I go to bed, I end up a crying wreck and my body starts to ache.
All in all, I’m seeing some positive changes physically which is helping me heal mentally too. I hope to be feeling back to myself soon.