I have colon cancer with liver mets, and I had no symptoms beforehand. I went in to hospital for what they thought was appendicitis. When I awoke from surgery I was told it had in fact been a burst ovarian cyst. No problem, just go home and rest up for a bit. So off I went. But a few days later the pain was still there so I went back in. They said it would most likely be an infection or possibly a bleed from the ovary so they gave me a catscan to check. I laid in my hospital bed expecting to be put onto antibiotics or at worse a minor procedure. The Drs face was very grim as he pulled the curtain around my bed and told me the CT had showed something very concerning. My colon was nearly blocked with a tumour. I had surgery the next morning to remove it. It was supposed to be a keyhole surgery but ended up being open, so I awoke with a morphine pump, catheter, multiple drips and a delightful naso-gastric tube. My bikini modelling days are over! That evening the Dr repeated the 'ive got bad news' thing - he had seen secondary cancers in my liver, at least five, and that they were inoperable. Apparently a person can live with a third of a liver, but my tumours are right throughout. Shit, shit, shit! The next few days consisted of crying (a lot), disbelief, lots of needles, MRI's, cat scans and pet scans (of me, not the dog) and various indignities. My poor sister in law who works at the hospital had an uncanny ability to come and see me when I was emotional... poor sister Sal!
Amongst the chaos there were funny moments too, we started a game of 'bum watch' - making an unsuspecting visitor (mostly Andrew!) look at a bare bum without them realising it was coming (ie 'Hey Andrew, look at those lovely flowers on the other side of the room.... eeeeew!). Gotta keep laughing! A week later I was sooooo ready to go home!
A few days later I attended my first oncology appointment where, to be quite honest, I found my Oncologist quite uninspiring. Yes I know its bad but no, Im not one of your statistics - Im a real person so fight for me please! However he told me about a clinical trial - sir spheres. I immediately signed up and am currently going through the assessment process. The only other treatment is chemo which I'll be starting in a week or two. Yes Ive had a second opinion - will the spheres wreck my liver? How the hell would I know, its all a risk.
Unfortunately the last scan picked up another lots of small tumours in my liver that the first scan didnt see, and 'something' in my womb which might exclude me from the trial, wont know what it is until yet further tests. Im beginning to know how those people who reckon theyve been probed by aliens feel! But we've decided to give the spheres a go even if I dont get into the trial (cost over $8,000 because the Therapeutic Goods Administration has apparently made a blanket decision that it isnt approving new drugs this year.... glad I didnt vote for that government!)
My visit to the naturopath at the Cancer Care Centre was in stark contrast to the Oncologist. She is warm and VERY positive - lots of stories of amazing people who have beaten the odds. Most importantly, she offers hope. Hope is a powerful thing, because Im in with a chance and Im going for it! And to do this I need to be in a really postive headspace. (I wonder if this will be as easy when Im feeling the effects of chemo). Im now on an organic, wheat, dairy and sugar free diet and feeling fantastic for it! I have 3-5 glasses of vegetable juice a day - get this - its carrot, beetroot, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and apple. Now that should be a fart brewing potion if ever there was one, but its suprisingly not - and quite pleasant to drink! (Unlike her herbal potions that could strip paint) But its been great following her regime. It is very empowering, and I firmly believe that it will help me to beat the odds. Im too stubborn to 'pop my clogs'. The Dr can get stuffed, he doesnt know how hard I am going to work and that I will beat this insidious disease! When the liver surgeon told me I would need an amazing result from chemo for him to be able to operate, my response was 'well get ready, because thats whats gonna happen!'. Did I mention I can never drink alcohol again??????