About a week ago, I had a check up with my colorectal surgeon, Mr Suggett. For the most part it was positive. My graft is healing slowly without any signs of infection and the scar on my stomach has healed nicely, even if it does make me look wonky now! I still have quite a bit of internal healing to do and I’ve still got to get used to having no stomach muscles on the right hand side of my body. Sitting up and standing up is quite a balancing act at the moment. It’s getting easier to sit down but I still get quite achy and sore if I sit or walk around for too long.
The bad, I’ve been having issues with bleeding from my stoma. This has obviously panicked me as it’s one of the main symptoms of bowel cancer. As I only had CT and MRI scans back in March, my surgeon has said it is unlikely to be another tumour at this stage. He is concerned though, that I have a genetic condition called FAP (Familial Adenotous Polyposis). This is a condition that mainly affects your bowel and causes it to over produce polyps, these polyps can then turn into cancer. The bowel that was removed during the surgery showed a worrying amount of these polyps so now I’ve got to have a colonoscopy to check the little bit of bowel I have left. So what happens if I have this condition? Well, that’s the bad news, it means another surgery to remove the rest of my large bowel and create a new stoma from my small bowel called an ileostomy.
So maybe more surgery. I don’t know if I can do it again. I know it’s not a definite but it’s all I can think about. Recovering from my APR has been so hard both mentally and physically. How can I think about doing all that again? I know I need to try to push it to the back of my brain until I know that’s what it is. But I can feel it lurking in the background. It’s sat next to the cancer mocking me. It tells me that I’ll never be rid of this.
I also received the news that after a long battle with lung cancer, my uncle sadly lost his fight at the weekend. Cancer is just the ugliest of illnesses. It causes pain physically and mentally, strips you of your dignity, destroys your body and takes too many people. Even though I hadn’t been able to see or speak to my uncle for a while. He was in constant contact with my dad asking about me and offering words of encouragement. It was an unfortunate connection we shared. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to go with my parents to visit him a few weeks ago as I was still too ill from the surgery. I wish I could have thanked him for his concern and encouragement face-to-face.
These last few weeks have been weird for me. I feel like I don’t know what I have anymore. Can I be a survivor even though I still have treatment left? As soon as I knew I had cancer, I visualised a day where there was be this massive euphoria and this big announcement that I had beaten cancer. I haven’t had this and to be honest I feel a bit cheated and lost. As with a lot of things in life, I had fought hard to feel really deflated at the end of it.
I can’t help but feel…is that it?