Hospital Waiting Room – Scanxiety

As I sit here in the waiting room

Memories come flooding back

Tears sting my eyes, as they fall onto my cheek bones

I spent too many hours here

Moments of dread

Fear

Not knowing

I’m waiting for my yearly scan

Since having the tumour removed last November I must have a CT scan once a year

The last one I had, I can not recollect

Back then there were so many days that seemed to run into one

I spent 7 weeks in hospital, being prodded and poked every day

Being wheeled, in my bed, downstairs into the radiology department and left in the corridor waiting for my name to be called

I remember being in so much pain, that with every movement of the trolley it ripped through me

I remember crying and praying that the scans would be clear

After having the tumour removed, I ran into complications and had to have a further operation

But still, weeks after that operation the doctors had no answers as to why I was still in pain and why the bowel was refusing to work

Scan after scan, but still no answer

Today, I sit here and the memories of my time there came flooding back

Feeling the fear again, trying to control my breathing

Telling myself that all will be well

That this time is different

Entering this hospital, takes me back to diagnosis time

The day a black cloud entered my world

Having scans is an anxious time, especially for cancer patients

It’s a time when you hold your breath, awaiting the news that you’re in the clear or that the tumour has shrunk or that you’re stable

After, sitting in the waiting room for an hour, I eventually get called in

With this scan I have to drink 4 glasses of water prior to the scan. Then a canula is put into a vein ready for the iodine to be flushed through my blood stream

This is a horrible experience, as the iodine runs through the system, I can feel my body heating up. I almost feel like I have wet myself

It always makes me feel very sick as I get that copper taste in my mouth

Within a few minutes it is all over

The experience maybe, But not the anxiety

Now I await the results

I now need to focus on positive things

I will not allow the anxiety to take over

I tell myself that all is in the past and I have a bright future

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When your body doesn’t work like it used to before…

It has been 11 months since my last chemo/radiotherapy session and 6 months since I came out of hospital after having 2 major operations.

I would like to say that recovery is going well although it has been slow. With a very active family It has been hard keeping up with them.

To think of where I was 6 months ago and to where I am now – I am very proud of myself. When I was discharged from hospital I couldn’t even walk up the stairs, I had to be carried and I couldn’t stand for longer than a minute without my legs giving up on me and collapsing. I thought I would never get to where I am now, but with the help and support of my family and friends I wasn’t allowed to give up.

I lost a lot of weight when I was in hospital and although I have managed to gained the weight back on, it has left me with many problems. Not just losing the weight but the treatment has too.

A few weeks ago I attended an appointment at my Doctors surgery as I was struggling with stiffness and weakness in my legs and pelvis area. I had been told previously from my Nurse that It was probably just my body getting used to being used again after so long resting in a bed. I was a little worried, understandably, after all what I had been through. So I thought that it would be best to get it checked out. A previous MRI showed no problem with the bones so I was referred to a physiotherapist.

Since gaining my strength and the weight back I have tried my best to be active. I am not strong enough to go out running but I have began to take gentle bike rides with the boys, jogging round the block and I walk everywhere. I believe that it was the walking that has helped me get me to where I am now.

I feel like I have got old before my time. I can no longer bend my knees and get down on the floor without having to spend a few minutes trying to get back up.

You take for granted how your body just does things, like bending down, walking up the stairs, sitting and kneeling down. All these things are now a struggle for me!

My body just doesn’t work like it used to and I have to work on these areas.

The physiotherapist has given me some exercises to do and is hopeful that I should gain some more strength back in my legs. The treatment and the operation has caused muscle loss in some areas and she believes that with a few gentle exercises and being taught how to use some gym equipment I should be on the right road to recovery.

I have two exercises to get on with; where I have to lift my pelvis up off of the floor and level it out and to stand up and sit down from a cushioned chair. I am also going to carry on with my walking as I do believe that in doing this type of exercise it has helped me gain muscle and strength in other areas.

Hopefully (fingers crossed) i will be stronger by the end of the year. I need to stay fighting fit!

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I may have Cancer but I’m still a Mum!

Being diagnosed with cancer was hard to deal with but what made it hard for me was that I still had to be there for my children.

No matter how much pain I was going through

or how tired I got

or how upset I felt

I was still a Mum, a person who my children depended on

I still had to smile every day for the sake of my children, even though all I felt like doing was crying. I wanted to scream but I couldn’t. I wanted to get angry but I couldn’t!

I was suffering but not in front of my boys. I cried on the inside. I tried hard to hide my feelings.

I was still the person they came to when they was upset or hurt

I was still the person who had to cook them dinner or read them their bedtime stories

Cancer didn’t take that from me. I was still a Mum

The one thing that went through my head was ‘Who is going to look after my children once I am gone?’ Who is going to wipe their tears from their eyes when they fall over and hurt themselves? Who is going to read to them at night? Who will be there for them when I can’t be?

Cancer treatment took all my energy, it left me tired and laid up in bed for days. There were days where I couldn’t move, days when all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and forget about everything. Pull the covers up over my head and lay there in the darkness of my own thoughts. But as a parent, you know that this is impossible. Children crave attention from their parents, they want to feel needed and loved.

My boys need for their Mum helped me find the fight that I needed to get through the toughest time of my life.

When my spirit was low, listening to my children play together lifted me up

I felt lonely, but I was not alone. I had the support of my family and friends, who constantly reminded me that I was going to fight this disease and come through the other end stronger than I entered it

Cancer has made us a stronger family unit.

I vowed that I would never be a victim but a survivor.

It was hard at first but with the help of my family I held onto my hopes and dreams and gathered the strength from around me to stay positive

I may have been diagnosed with Cancer, but I will not allow it to stop me from being a Mum

 

 

 

 

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Keeping Strong!

It’s been a year now since I received the news of my Cancer diagnosis. I entered the consultants room in the hospital knowing deep down that something wasn’t right with my health. I didn’t have the symptoms that you read about, I didn’t lose weight or have bleeding but I did feel tired a lot and fought with fatigue. I just knew that the lump that I was feeling wasn’t right. I knew deep down that it was bad. I didn’t want my family to come with me to hear the words but I couldn’t stop them from being with me.

I came out of the diagnostics room a different person. Hearing the consultant tell me that I had Cancer changed my life and my family’s life. After going through every emotion possible, which took a good few months, and crying for what seemed like eternity I became stronger. I became to realise that I could allow this disease to beat me or I could stand up and fight it with every little piece of energy that I have.

Keeping strong is the only way to carry on with this disease.

I only have one focus in life now and that it to be around for as long as I can for the sake of my children.

It’s easy to keep strong with the support of my family and friends.

I am no longer Angela. I am now Angela who has Cancer. I am now Angela who is stronger.

I need now to not look back on the what ifs but to look forward and to stay positive. To keep my head clear of any negative thoughts.

I may have had the diagnosis that we all dread to hear but I am still here, I am still a Mum to 3 wonderful children. Cancer doesn’t stop that and will never take it away from me. No matter what I will always be a Mum. Being a Mum is what has made me strong, It is what made me fight for my life.

Having Cancer has made me realise that we need to enjoy life, enjoy each others company, stay focused for here and now.  I make more plans than I did before, I don’t hold back on doing something. I need to look after myself more, not only keeping my body strong but my mind too.

There are times when it all becomes a little too much. When I think back to my time in hospital I used to thank god that every morning I woke up. I thought that it was my time. I never thought that I could pull through, But I did. Slowly I became stronger. I tell myself now that I am still here and I am still Angela, I am still a Mum and I am still someones daughter, sister, cousin, aunty, friend or colleague.

I would like to thank everyone for the support that you have all given me, either through social media or personally. Without you all I wouldn’t be able to stay focused and learn to look after myself.

I will keep my head clear of any negative thoughts, I will keep a smile on my face and I will keep on being strong.

 

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Dear Cancer I’m not ready to Die

I hate writing this. But this is how I am feeling at the moment.

With tears in my eyes and an ache in my heart.

I think about who I would leave behind

I dread the thought of being told that I am going to die.

I have always feared death. Always cried about dying. Having children made it all become a little bit more real.

Having Cancer has made it all the more real for me. It has made me think more and more of death.

Right or wrong. Positive or not. You can not allow your brain to not think of it.

I have three beautiful children who I adore so much. I have so much to give them. So many more memories. So many more cuddles and kisses.

I want to be able to see them grow into handsome young men.

I want to see them graduate from University

I want to hold their hands through the good and the bad.

I want to watch them fall in love and enjoy life

I want to watch them walk down the aisle and I want to hold my grandchild in my arms

I am not ready to die.

I am not ready to leave my family behind to cope with me not being around.

I have so many more bumps and bruises to kiss better

So many more bedtime stories to read.

So many more experiences to enjoy with my boys

Death is a horrible thing and I know we all will die eventually. This has always scared me. I’ve always been upset about leaving my children, young or old, behind.

Coping with having Cancer has made it all real.

I am not ready for my body to give up. I am not ready to leave my boys without a Mummy.

Why am I writing this? I don’t know. Its how I am feeling. It’s what I am thinking.

It’s in my thoughts all the time. I don’t want it to be there. I want to enjoy the time I have with my family.

So many people tell me to enjoy my life, but It’s so hard. Cancer takes over.

I want to take control of my thoughts and body. I do not want it to win.

Am I feeling down? Am I depressed? YES

I want to be healthy and I want to live a long and good life

I want my children to enjoy growing up with their Mum around to guide them and teach them right from wrong. What Mum wouldn’t?

They need a strong Mum and a happy one.

I will carry on fighting with every inch of my body for the sake of my boys. I will try to keep strong and not allow them to see the weak me, the depressed me, the unhappy me. I will not let this defeat me without giving everything I have.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bowel Surgery My Story Part 1

It’s been a long, hard struggle, but fingers crossed I’m on the road to recovery.

I was admitted into hospital last November 9th, for a scheduled bowel removal operation. I was in good spirits as i arrived to the hospital at 7am in the morning. I had my suitcase packed with a few essential items of clothing, magazines, books and a few snacks for the evenings whilst I was in hospital. I was due to stay in for 7-10 days but all depending on the rate of my recovery. I was told by my surgeon that there wasn’t many risks to the surgery for someone as fit and healthy like myself.

As I laid on the hospital bed waiting to be called into theatre, my surgeon came by to see me, I was in a positive mood and was hopeful that my surgery would be a success. I had tried hard not to think too much about the surgery but had researched the type of surgery I was having. I knew that my rectum was going to be removed as the tumour was sitting on the sphincter muscle, which meant if the rectum was left intact then I would not be able to control when I wanted to release my stools. My surgeon shook my hand and told me that I was first into theatre. I got dressed into my gown and had a last minute trip to the toilet before being wheeled into theatre.

I remember the lights were so bright, everything seemed to be gleaming. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed in theatre and the nurses and anaesthesist running around me, all doing something important. They all seemed to be really busy and I was just sitting there like a little lost lamb. Not sure what to do or say. I remember watching the nurses gather together the surgery tools, placing them onto a trolley, all lined out in a specific way and thinking how shiny and sharp they looked. I took a bug gulp. A deep breath and closed my eyes. I thought about my children at home and how they would be feeling today, how they would wake up and notice mummy not there. I remember a nurse coming over and fitting in a cannula to my hand and a needle into the base of my back (I believe this was an epidural, but I’m not sure). I remember the anaesthesist commenting on how calm and collected I was. How I seemed to be composed and ready. I didn’t feel it. I was then told to lay down. And that was it. I can not remember anything more until I woke up 6 hours later

I was in a different room this time, different people running around me. There was a nurse sitting on a chair next to my bed. When I opened my eyes she asked me how I was feeling. I felt fine. I felt no pain. I felt OK. I didn’t want to look down at my tummy, I didn’t want to see what they had done. I remember feeling hungry and thirsty so the nurse went and got me a yoghurt and some water. It felt so good to eat it.

I had a catheter to help drain the bladder of urine. I also had a colostomy bag on the left hand side of my abdomen. I had a drain attached, coming out of my bottom collecting blood/fluid. I also had 3 little incisions where they had performed a laparoscopy to remove my rectum and lymph nodes.

My parents had come with me to the hospital that morning and I hadn’t seen my Mum since they wheeled me down to theatre, I wanted to let her know I was OK. A nurse told me that My parents were waiting outside in the waiting room and wanted to know how I was. I wanted to see them but they wasn’t allowed through to the recovery room. After an hour or so they were allowed to come through and see me for a quick cuddle and to see how I was. It was good to see them, I held them tight

At about 6 in the evening I was taken upstairs to the surgery ward where a bed was waiting for me. I don’t remember much, I was very tired and kept drifting in and out sleep. Paul was with me and then it was time for him to go home. I didn’t want to be on my own. I slept. I awoke in the middle of the night in immense pain, screaming out to the nurses for help. I can not describe the pain but I remember it being so strong, I was crying. I wanted it to stop. I don’t even know where the pain was coming from, I just know that whatever the nurses gave me it wasn’t strong enough to take it away.

I don’t when, but they hooked me up to a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) where I was in control of when I administered morphine for the pain by pressing a button. This way I was able to control my pain whenever I needed to.

I don’t remember when I got up and out of bed. The days went by in a whirl. I slept so much. All I wanted to do was sleep.

I asked the nurses if I could get up and walk around but they said that I needed to be assessed by the physiotherapy team first.

I remember asking to get out of bed so I can sit in the chair. One of the nurses helped me out and then just as he was walking away I remember feeling really weak, sweating and then nothing. I must have blacked out. The next I remember was being carried into my bed and being hooked up to a saline drip. I believe that my blood pressure was low and that is why i fainted after getting out of bed.

I wanted to try again. I wanted to get better. But I was so scared I would faint again. I felt weak.

Days went by and I was soon feeling stronger. I was eating and drinking but not enough. The food was horrid. Tasteless.

My parents came to visit everyday. My mum helped me wash and when I gained enough strength to get out of bed she helped my shower. I hated seeing myself in the mirror. Who was the person looking back at me. A thinner, weaker version of myself.

My boys came in to see me, but I didn’t want them to see me so ill and weak. My eldest son came to visit after school, on his way home. Most days he would just sit next to my bed holding my hand whilst I slept, other days we would talk about school and his brothers. I hated seeing the hurt in their eyes. I would cry when they went home. I wanted to gold them close but my wounds and stoma meant I couldn’t have them close to me incase they knocked the tummy.

Where my rectum had been removed I had been stitched on the bottom. I wasn’t allowed to sit on my bottom for longer than 10 minutes. It felt weird. I had to keep moving from one side to the other every half hour. Sleeping was uncomfortable. My pert bottom was gone and in replace was a disgusting looking flat piece of skin that covered some bones.

It took over a week for the stoma to start to work. I was told I was constipated and that I needed to drink more but I just couldn’t take in anymore that what I was drinking.  I was given an enema to help. My first stools were watery. I was taught from the stoma nurse how to change the bag and what equipment to use. It didn’t seem too bad.

I was told what I could and couldn’t eat. So much of my normal diet was a no go. I went off of food and could only manage a few mouthfuls at a time. I began to feel sick and started to throw up whatever I was taking in.

I wanted to go home so much. I wanted to be with my boys. I hadn’t seen much of them whilst I was in hospital. So when a doctor came round to see me two weeks after surgery and asked me if I wanted to go home, I obviously said yes. I knew I was being sick but if they thought I was well enough to go then I was happy to do so.

We waited around for the discharge papers. Two hours later I was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and ready to set off home.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t stop here. Read part 2 later on this week. 

Thank you for reading.

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2017 Please Be Kind To Me

Dear 2017,

Last year was not a very good year to many people, me included. 2016 was pretty shit, to put it lightly.

Many people lost their lives through illnesses or disasters in 2016. To be honest I didn’t spend much time watching the news or reading the papers about what was going on around me as I was in my own little nightmare.

This year I would like you to be kinder to me and my family, please.

We have been through so much and deserve just a little break.

2016 saw me being diagnosed with Bowel Cancer, adeno carcinoma, an unusual cancer for a young woman of my age to get. In fact it is rare and there are only two of us diagnosed with such cancer in the hospital that I received my treatment at.

Last year I under went 5 and a half weeks of radiotherapy and taking chemotherapy tablets.

Last year I spent 8 days in hospital with an internal infection due to the radiotherapy harming my bladder and bowel.

Last year I had my tumour taken away (well what was left of it).

On top of everything that I went through in the space of 5 months, you decided that you would throw a little more at me.

After my first surgery, I had complications and just 2 weeks later I had to have an emergency operation on my small bowel.

You see 2016, I am stronger than what you think I am.

In 7 months I went through hell and back, physically and emotionally. Not only did I suffer but it effected family and friends.

So this year, 2017, I would like you to take into account on what I went through last year and take pity on an underweight Mummy who just wants to be here for her children.

I would like to laugh again. A real good belly laugh.

I would like to be fear free.

I would like to spend precious time with my boys without thinking about time.

2017, I would like to be left alone please. Let me be. Allow me to be who I want to be.

I want to have tears of happiness. I want the tears to roll down my face and onto a smile

I don’t want any more sadness or bad news. I want to be hopeful.

Dear 2017, please be kind to me.

Much Love

A very tired, but hopeful Angela

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