Embarrassment at the thought of a rectal examination plus fear of finding out what was the problem were the factors that held me back from seeking help.
"His next words were of the greatest comfort to me as he explained the procedure"
I didn’t feel ill, I was a bit tired, but that was probably age related, but I was loosing blood in my motions and my trips to the toilet were becoming more frequent and urgent!
After a few weeks I visited my GP and was referred to the Spire Cheshire hospital to meet Mr Barry Taylor, Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon. He recommended a CT scan plus a colonoscopy (camera) to establish the problem.
These were carried out during the next week and it was during the colonoscopy that I came face to face with the tumour. I didn’t know what it was but it didn’t look good and during the examination I asked if that was the problem and was told “yes, we will have to do something about that!”.
I returned to the day room and Mr Taylor came to talk to me and my wife, he showed pictures of the tumour taken during the examination and advised me that I had bowel cancer.
His next words were of the greatest comfort to me as he explained the procedure he could undertake and finished by saying “I am not looking to patch you up I am looking to cure you!”
From that moment on everything was positive, all my thoughts were on fighting to overcome this intruder. I openly discussed the problem with family and friends and found their support invaluable.
I had surgery the following week, the offending section of bowel was removed and sent away for testing and the remaining two ends were simply stitched together again.
I spent a couple of days in the high dependency unit at Spire Cheshire Hospital and then a few days on the ward before going home. Everyone was helpful and everyone from the cleaner to the surgeon was positive that we could do it.
At home my wound was tended by excellent District Nurses and when this was healed sufficiently I visited the Prof. Peter Clark Consultant Oncologist at Spire Cheshire Hospital to discuss chemotherapy.
As there was no evidence that the cancer had spread outside the bowel and this affected area had been removed I was given the choice whether I wished to undergo chemotherapy or not. I chose to take the chemotherapy as I wanted to do the maximum from my side to overcome this problem.
The chemotherapy was in tablet form and consisted of several courses of tablets to be taken daily at home over a period of nearly six months. After each course I visited Spire Cheshire Hospital to have blood samples taken and checked and to receive my next course of tablets.
Throughout this time I was back at work, did not lose my hair and apart from feeling tired some days was remarkably well.
It is now almost 8 months since my operation and last week I had another CT scan and colonoscopy where I was able to admire Mr Taylor’s earlier needlework at close hand. All is looking good and I am due for further CT scan in 6 months and another colonoscopy in 12 months.
Throughout this period I can honestly say I have not felt ill. A strange comment for someone who has had cancer however it is my opinion that the word 'cancer' and the frequent newspaper reports of the number of deaths from cancer frighten people into believing this is the end.
In fact if we can catch the symptoms early enough and allow the professionals to carry out their excellent work before the disease spreads then in many cases and hopefully my own we could have newspapers reporting success stories instead of failures.
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