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..

Friday, 30 April 2010

Where to Start?

It's difficult to know where to start this really but I'll make an attempt with this first posting.
This all began some months ago with a feeling of being generally unwell, probably as long ago as Christmas 2009 or maybe even before that.....

Initially I believed that it was a Lupus flare - I was hospitalised with Lupus in 2004 but had not really suffered too many problems with this since mid 2005.
The symptoms were very similar, extreme tiredness, dull aches in my joints, headaches, fever and night sweats and loss of appetite and weight but I had a nagging doubt at the back of my head that THIS time it just felt different! However, I chose to ignore the nagging doubt and concentrate on recovering from the 'Lupus' by resting wherever possible and waiting for it to subside.

By mid March I decided the only way to get myself properly back on my feet and able to cope with day to day stuff was to take time off and work on my recovery. I saw my GP and was signed off for a week to enable me to rest completely. It didn't help.

The next few weeks was a cycle of backwards and forwards to the GP, more certificates, suggestions that I may be 'depressed' rather than having a flare (I knew this wasn't the problem though), prescriptions for:
Lupus meds, haemorroid cream, suppositories due to the uncomfortable pain in the backside, painkillers for the headaches, antibiotics just in case it was a urine infection, leaflets on coping with depression!

Then over the Easter weekend I felt so unwell I was literally waiting for the surgery to reopen on the 6th April so I could again see the GP. This time I saw a locum who initially said 'depression' but then she really listened when I said I wanted her to go over my symptoms again. She asked more about the 'piles/haemorroid problem' and asked if I'd been examined - I hadn't, I had been prescribed medication but not examined previously. This was where it all started really.

After a very painful examination she insisted on referring me immediately to see an Oncologist and probably saved my life by doing so.
I was referred on 6th April and had my first appointment the following week, Wednesday, 14th April with the Oncology team. They took details of my recent medical history, then another painful examination, during which a biopsy was taken (VERY painful indeed) and a chat with the Colorectal Cancer nurse afterwards. She explained that I would now need numerous other tests to help them rule out any spread of what was "potentially a malignant tumour".

My nurse booked me a CT Scan, Blood Tests, Faeces Sample Test, Colonoscopy, Ultrasound Endoanal Scan, MRI Scan and suddenly it was all feeling a little scary to say the least.