About Me

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I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How Does it Feel to be Free of Stitches.....?

Well....I really wouldn't know - yet!

Went for my appointment this morning for my post surgery check up and removal of the very annoying and uncomfortable hard nylon stitches in the rectal wound - only to find out that the surgeon feels that the wound hasn't healed enough yet and therefore they are staying in place for another week....that'll be five weeks then!

Although I did just want to relax and lay in a nice warm bath for ages tonight, I'm actually okay about them staying in place if it means I avoid further surgery.
If he removes them too soon he is convinced that the wound could break down and that would involve plastic surgery at a later date with prolonged wound packing in the meantime.

I can wait under those circumstances - I'm fairly desperate to avoid further surgery :-)

Sarah came with me for my hospital appointment today, met my surgeon and had a chat to him too.

He also asked me how I'm feeling about things and I told him I'm quite depressed - he said he would be concerned that I wasn't 'normal' if I wasn't slightly depressed about everything....(good to know I'm 'normal' even though I feel far from it...)

We had another chat about Chemo or not to Chemo - our favourite subject these days it seems.
I told him I'm happy to go to talk to the Oncologist (next Tuesday) about options but that I'm still leaning to the 'no chemo' direction at this point - however, I WILL talk through my options before I make my final, definite decision and it will be based on what's right for me after weighing everything up.

Something that made both me and Sarah really laugh during the appointment was when the nurse called me in and asked me to get up onto the bed so that the surgeon could come in and examine the wound.
So, removed my jeans - kept on my underwear for modesty until the last minute and laid on the bed. She covered me with some of that disposable paper stuff - then said 'Where is your wound?'......
I was so tempted to say 'Ummm.....here on my head, it's why I'm laying here with no jeans on'
When she left the room I told Sarah what I'd been thinking and we laughed so much that my Stoma actually hurt for a moment.......

Later on after the surgeon had finished examining the wound I asked him to send the nurse back in to redress it for me - she arrives, takes ages organising herself and her supplies, pokes around quite a lot for a while (luckily my bum is now completely numb) and then says (this is a classic funny line)....
'Are you able to control your poo?'.....
I replied very calmly and with no obvious sarcasm 'Wellllll, I don't actually have a bum anymore, so no, I can't really control it as such'
She pokes around some more and says 'Oh!...have you got a bag?'
I said 'I've got a permanent Stoma that I attach a bag to'....she says 'Okay, that's good'...

Funny how someone can be looking at a completely stitched up arse and not actually notice that it's not possible to use for normal bowel motions - and be a nurse - LOL :-))

Had fish n chips for lunch on the way back home - really nice place that serves way too much to finish and completely delicious.
I managed more than half - which is no small achievement when you see what you actually get served on a plate.
Last time we got a take away from there, Rab and I shared one portion between us for a lunch and it was plenty - so today, I ate loads!

Have decided that I'm going back onto my supplements from tomorrow. I had stopped them on the advice from the Enhanced Recovery nurse as she felt that the colon needed time to adjust but I discussed this with her again today and said that I feel I will improve faster if I feel I'm doing the right things with my immune system - she agreed that if I felt it was important then I should go ahead and restart.

She reminded me that there is no scientific evidence that what I'm taking would make any difference to my overall health - however if it makes me 'feel' better then go ahead.

I wanted to remind her that there is little scientific evidence to prove that adjuvant Chemo will give me a cancer free life, however everyone thinks I should do it regardless - but decided not to bother at this point....

So from tomorrow I'll restart my supplements and in a week or so I'll let you know if they are working, scientifically or not :-)

Other good stuff that has happened over the last few days was that on Sunday Rab and Djamel went out for a while and came back with a 6ft Christmas tree. When they got home Dj said....'Mummy, you are NOT decorating the tree this year, I am doing it myself and you can watch'....This is amazing because I do all the Christmas stuff normally, tree decorating, present wrapping/buying/choosing, food shopping, menu choices, cooking - this year I'm redundant and it's actually quite nice for a change.
Anyway, Dj decorated the whole tree by himself (I trained him well in past years obviously - lol) and the only help he had was with the lights - Rab helped him get the lights on evenly...the rest he did and when he'd finished I told him he'd done a great job.

His reply was a classic ...'Thanks mummy, I don't want you to think that when you're not around any more that we won't have a Christmas tree and we won't have Christmas - you can see I can do it now so when you're not here it'll be one less thing for you to worry about'
Big LOL!
He's great - it would have been one of the things on my mind in the future - I can see that I would have left a list for Rab reminding him 'This is what you need to do for Christmas each year' ....obviously I don't need to now......

As Dj said, one less thing to worry about - it's all good if they can cope well :-))

Rab has been amazing - he's mastered the washing machine, got himself into a routine of washing whites and darks on different days, changing beds at the weekend, washing up, cooking, shopping, going to work, ironing, sorting out uniform for Dj, polishing shoes and all the other stuff that I used to do by myself..... He's gone from the man who sat waiting for things to happen, to making those things happen.
The Stoma nurses gave him a pat on the back the other day and said they could see he was being a star and really looking after me - he said 'It's only while Carole's sick because once she's well again I'm going back to normal'....:-) ))

Here's Dj's Christmas tree...before he decorated it...

Then after all his hard work.......

And traditionally, always the last thing on the tree is the Angel.
Rab used to lift Dj to put her in place every year - and it's always been Dj's 'job' - but this year he got himself a step ladder and said 'I don't actually think you can manage me any more, old man'.
He's so cheeky (but also right, I don't think Rab could manage to lift him for long any more)...:-)


  1. Hey if you can eat fish and chips from a chippy now you can eat ANYTHING!!!!
    They're off my menu for good, sob sob. Although I can eat fish without batter and potatoes that aren't chips, minus salt. Maybe if I wrapped them in vinegary newspaper, sigh.

  2. I SHOULD be working on my 2,000 word college assignment, but I'm browsing blogs again! I know you follow Doug's but I just read this from when he was 3 weeks post surgery (hope he won't mind me quoting):
    ..."I was watching a Tour de France preview show today and they were interviewing Lance Armstrong. He was sitting there wearing his Livestrong bracelet, Livestrong T-shirt and Livestrong shoes, looking fit as hell. I should have felt inspired, but I didn't. In fact, I found myself wanting to wring his neck - he doesn't have a freaking bag, he didn't have his rectum and a good portion of his colon removed. Screw him.
    I was surprised by my reaction and thought about why I reacted that way and realized that I'm just jealous that he's done fighting his battle, while I'm still in the middle of mine. He's sitting there in that interview all healthy, and here I am lying on side all day long waiting and waiting and waiting for things to heal up. Why can't I be all healed up? Then I thought more about his journey, and how, although not the same as mine, his was still pretty damn brutal (Hello ... Stage IV cancer? brain surgery?), and how I'm sure he had his doubts at times too"

  3. That nurse sounds as if she is more analy retentive than you are but at least you will improve!!She would make a hopeless detective.You sound more upbeat today,you cant beat greasy carbs for a boost.Perhaps the Gaviscon is helping
    Good luck lovely lady
    Rose xxx

  4. Nice one Carole, absolutely loved this post...not that I don't love all the posts but this one felt like you were taking control back and enjoying (as much as you can enjoy) being an official nuisance and a lady of leisure...I bet the fish & chips tasted good!

    My favourite bit - you trusting your intuition regarding the supplements - funny how your body has to cope with all the drugs and crap hospital food yet the natural Glucamune etc they tell you not to take it...I must say though that the superfood gave my stoma the worst trouble and my insides still cant handle it hence why I gave all my supplies to you :-)...I have Barley Grass which is much gentler..

    Anyways trust your intuition as your body and mind will tell you what you need...

    Rab is a star but I guess you know that...I love the fact is he just 'holding the fort' for you :-)

    Much Love

    T x

  5. Oh good grief Carole, where do they find these people from? The expression "wouldn't know her arse from her elbow" was obviously first said about that nurse! How did you not either wet yourself laughing at her stupidity or say what you thought I don't know. But, I think the fact that you thought them is a sign you're getting back on track.

    Also I have started mentioning my supplements and the poison they insist will benefit me and look at the damage their "treatments" have done so far? I mention it a lot, I explain the reason I'm vegan (largely) is to improve my immune system to extend my life. The nurses weren't shocked by it, they're still on the human side of things. They also insisted it's anyone's right to eat what they believe is good for them, whether it's on medical, religious or ethical grounds. Same applies for supplements in my book, holistic approach to illness is the only way we'll ever get "cures" I fear.

    I almost fancy some salty chips! (Wouldn't but I enjoy the memory of enjoying them)

    I'm not in as much pain with trapped wind as you have been, but I am having random half hour attacks of it. Thankfully Fatty is quite good at farting, my friend said he doesn't do much but sit there farting and needing looking after - he's as useful as a husband. (Clearly not a Rab type husband)

  6. God alive, when did Dj get to be so big???! He must be dwarfing you now!

    Great to hear that he and Rab are coping so well between them. Must be a huge load off your mind - means you're able to concentrate on recovering . . . so you can straight back to it all as soon as possible! lol

    Love you, lady. See you Monday (with the cake!) xx

  7. You are all 'STARS' my friend. Are you sure your nurse was qualified?
    Now I feel guilty that I did not order the supplements. Seemed like I was spending money and expecting a miracle when diet is far from 'perfect.' Having Haydn prepare vegetables when he is a very 'plain' eater makes food challenging.
    Out of the mouths of babes....
    Your Dj makes me laugh.
    Stay strong my friend. It is lovely to hear about your progress. Why wouldn't you feel slightly depressed? You have been to the 'cleaners'
    It is OK to have those feelings. More importantly they must be valiudated so good on your doctor.
    Bless you sweet lady.

  8. Carole that's great. You have a lovely tree and super kids for taking charge. My son did the same thing this year. We bought a tree that had 650 lights now I think we have close to 900 lol
    As far as treatment the only one who can decide for you is you...

    Love Alli xx

  9. Is it tomorrow, Wednesday, you find out if the stitches can come out at last? Get that bubble bath ready.


  10. Hi Fiona,

    There's a possibility that they might be taken out tomorrow and another possibility that they might not! Watch this space :-)