This is my Journey 2022
So its been a while since I shared my story, so here is a quick recap: in May 20 at the age of 38 I was diagnosed with a stage 3 or they thought before surgery a stage 4 bowel cancer, in October 2020 I underwent a full hysterectomy and a full colon removal to remove my cancer, followed by 3 months of intensive Chemotherapy, fast forward to April 2021 and my first tumor markers was being taken I felt like we had done everything we could so there was nothing to worry about !
Little did I know !! unfortunately my makers came back raised, and I was told not to worry but this can sometimes happen and further test would need to be carried out, however positive I tried to be this hit me harder than when I was told I had Cancer, and I knew deep down that it had returned my best friend had once said to me always trust your gut it’s never usually wrong and I had that nagging feeling in my gut.
I went for a urgent MRI and CT scan, to be told not long after that the beastly had returned but this time had decided to entangle itself to the side of my bladder how considerate of this cancer like it hadn’t already taken enough from me.
My Consultant was unsure what could be done for me if anything but would refer me to a colleague of his in Morriston Hospital who has a special interest in recurring bowel cancer and he would be my last option.
In August 2021 I met with Mr Evans in Morriston, he had reviewed my case and I was given 2 options first:- do nothing and I would possible have around 6-12 months left to live, or the second:- I could opt for surgery which had around 40% cure rate but was major surgery in which I would be on the operating table for 10 hours it involved a Total Pelvic Extraction which included my Bladder being removed and replacing it with a Urostomy along with the Ileostomy I already had they would then also remove part of my Ab core muscle and skin and use this in a different area to fill the void caused by the surgery, it is extremely complex surgery which very few hospitals can offer, without any hesitation I said to Mr Evans please just take whatever you need to if it means I will have longer to spend with my partner and 4 children.
On the 9th September 2021 I went into hospital for surgery, that morning Mr Evans and his team came to see me before I went down for surgery, and asked me how I was feeling and my thoughts, I replied to him “ you either take this out of me today or I want to take it with me because there was no way I was letting my family watch it destroy me!” I remember him actually being a little speechless at this remark .
My operation actually lasted 14 hours and my heart had stopped twice, but all the teams involved work tireless to get me through the surgery and out the otherside, I certainly gave them a little scare, when I woke up it was my turn to do the hard work, I woke with terrible leg pain which actually hurt more than the cut from under my right bust all the way down my tummy, it was explained that this is quite common after this surgery and in time I would adjust to it, I also felt different, and for the first time since I was diagnosed I had that gut feeling again but this time it was that the cancer had gone, also due to the complex nature of the surgery I had to remain lying on my side at all times for around 4-6 weeks and not able to sit upright, this was so hard but I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel so to speak and I also had to begin to learn how to look after my Urostomy, I spent 5 days in intensive care then up onto a ward and I was home with 3 weeks.
Just before I left hospital it was confirmed that the margin taken was big enough which meant they had got the cancer, I would require more Chemotherapy as a mop up or as its also known as an insurance policy to ensure that the beastly wasn’t hiding itself anywhere else, I was given 6 months of chemotherapy which I completed May 27th 2022 and I have also had my first CT scan and tumor markers taken which I am pleased to say as it stands I am 10 months into remission so far.
I have been left with permanent nerve damage in my foot and also my hip and walk with a crutch, but I see this as a very small price to pay considering I can now start looking to the future and creating new memories with my family.
All the way through my journey the Hospice of the Valleys has been with me. They have helped me and my family. I always thought a Hospice was for the end of life care but I couldn’t have been more wrong ! They have helped me with Pain Management, Counselling, Physiotherapy and I have also had Reflexology and this is just a piece of what they can offer not just to the patient but also the family who is also going through their own journey.
It has now come to the point in my long road to recovery that I feel strong enough for it to be time to try and give something back to the Hospice,
So this September myself and my family have signed up to take part in the Hospice Celebration 5 Mile Walk to raise money for them and to help them to continue to help others like the way they helped us.
From Intensive Care to a family Holiday with my soul mate Rob July 2022