I have suffered from IBS for many years so there was no real noticeable change in my bowel habits. For the last few years my GP has been telling me that the bright red blood when I go to the loo was due to piles. It was only when I started passing blood clots and blood stained mucus that I went back to him on 31 January 2013. He fast tracked me to the Colorectal clinic at the local hospital.
14 February 2013: I had a rigid sigmoidoscopy which only goes up the first part of the bowel. Not the most comfortable thing to have done on Valentine Day. I was told I had a couple of grade III hemorrhoids but for belt and braces it was arranged for me to have a flexible sigmoidoscopy – this goes further around the sigmoid section of the large intestine.
27 February 2013: with the help of gas and air to take the edge of the camera passing through the bowel some polyps were found. I could see from the monitor in front of me that they didn’t look right and sensed from the tone of voice of the consultant, who had been called in, that he was not happy and he ordered 3 biopsies to be taken and a CT scan and full colonoscopy was arranged.
6 March 2013: I had the CT scan.
10 March 2013: Two days before the colonoscopy I had to have a bland diet, and ate poached chicken breast and mash potato for Mother’s Day lunch, loving prepared by my eldest daughter.
11 March 2013:, A fluids only day and at 7:00p.m. I drank the first litre of a revolting concoction called Moviprep. 7:00 am on the morning of the colonoscopy, I had to endure the second litre of Moviprep which made me sick so I lost some of it, however it didn’t prevent it working!
12 March 2013: Prior to the full colonoscopy I was told that I had bowel cancer in the sigmoid section and they also needed to do a gastroscopy (a camera into the stomach) as the CT scan had shown up something. So I had an endoscopy from both ends! I don’t remember much as I was given a sedative which knocked me out for a short while.
14 March 2013: I saw the consultant, with my youngest daughter, and he told us the CT scan had shown up enlarged lymph nodes in my pelvis, abdomen and lungs but strangely it has not affected my liver, which has confused them somewhat as this is not the normal progression. I am due to have biopsies on the abdomen and lungs next week to determine what the next step will be. I had sarcoidosis many years ago which affects the lymph glands and there is a possibility that this is the problem, but until they know they can’t decide whether to do chemo first or surgery.
So, at the time of writing this I still do not know what stage my cancer is at, the treatment required or what the prognosis is. I have read many case histories in which many people have lived for beyond 5 years even when diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer so I am holding on to that thought. At the moment it is still difficult to understand why this is happening, I don’t feel ill, I am in no pain and there is nothing tangible to hang the cancer label on. It is there though and my fight starts now.
Why “Coming Face to Face with Eric”? I have named my cancer Eric and am going to fight him tooth and nail, it’s tough being positive but I am not going to let it get me down although I know there will be some very hard days ahead. I am going to use my blog to write about my days and bring Bowel Cancer to the attention of others. It is a silent cancer with symptoms that are all too easy to ignore. DON’T IGNORE THEM!!
With the support from my lovely family and close friends I know I will make it.