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..

Monday, 7 March 2011

Made some plans now........

I've moved forward somewhat since I've made some plans...

Last week I went to see my boss and had a meeting to discuss how I'm doing. She has been incredibly supportive and assured me that there is no pressure at all and I should only return once I feel well enough to cope.
She also offered me reduced hours, reduced days, any equipment that will help me (special cushion, foot rest etc) and it's made a huge difference to how I feel.

I realised some time ago that I was struggling with guilt...sounds stupid maybe but I reckon people out there with cancer will be able to relate to what I'm saying.

Apart from all the physical stuff you go through with cancer there is also the emotional and financial side of things.
As I said, I realised some time ago that I was struggling with guilt..I felt guilty for being unwell and messing up the finances, guilty for not being at work because of the increased workload put onto my colleagues, guilty for worrying everyone in the family, guilty for not being able to do domestic stuff and watching Rab work all day then come home and sort things out here, guilty when I see/hear about others who are struggling more than me, guilty for just getting cancer.

But then I had a long chat with Hazel a few weeks ago and she helped me to put things into perspective - thank you Haze.

Firstly she told me to 'put to bed' the idea of coming back to work right now simply because I was setting myself unrealistic dead-lines - hence increasing my feelings of guilt when I couldn't meet them.
We also discussed other things which I'm currently putting into place - she gave me a shove when I needed one and I've since been able to start planning again - but in a realistic way now.

So my plans are to do my counselling (when he finally gets back to me with potential dates)...to look into doing some Yoga or similar....keep eating healthily and take my supplements......return to work after the Easter school holidays IF my wound has healed properly and I feel able to.....forget about June until June arrives and then worry about my CEA levels and scans only once I get results....get away for a break (planning on visiting my sister in the summer - more on that nearer the time)

My wound is still healing but it's nowhere near as sore as it was a while ago.
I'd like to say I'm no longer tired out, but truth is I am some days. Again though, it's better than it was a while ago.
I no longer have hormonal headaches (radiotherapy frazzled everything & threw me into immediate menopause) which I've suffered from all my adult life so that's a definite 'YAY' moment :-)
I no longer care if all the housework isn't done on time.
I've made plans and I'm going to move forward over the next few weeks, without a doubt.


  1. So glad you are making plans and it sounds like you are in a better place already. Sheri also pulled some positive results out of the immediate menopause she also experienced, and we will take any positives that we can!

    You are always in our thoughts!

    Eric and Sheri

  2. Hey aunty,

    I know numerous people have said this countless times but....

    TAKE IT EASY!!!!!!

    Taking into consideration the population of this country, hardly anyone has gone through what you have in the last year. More importantly, I am sure had they done so, most would have never had the strength nor determination to tackle it the way you do.

    So cut yourself some of this "slack" people talk about and TAKE IT EASY. I, amongst many, could only dream of inhabiting the courage and mentality that you have.

    I can say matter-of-factly, that no one in your family feels any burden upon them whatsoever. So stop thinking about them and become a little selfish. It's all about me me me (as in you you you).


  3. This is all sounding excellent Carole. Really positive. I think you are considering all the right options for making progress - going back to work, just as long as it is phased and at a pace that suits you is a good thing to work towards. I was off for 8 months and eased back in gradually. Thanks to blogging and cancerchat, my mind was switched on - the body just needed to catch up. With all your blogging, forum posting and ear bashing of cold callers, your mind will definitely be ready for work! Just make sure your body is!
    As for the holiday, it will do you the WORLD of good - sunshine, good company and getting out of your 'comfort space' will help to give you a big confidence lift.
    The counselling will be great too - tho I have a feeling that you'll end up counselling the counsellor! - I hope whoever you get is good at what they do and that they can truly help sort you out. (I actually think you'll do a lot of this yourself in time)
    As for the guilt - totally natural, but once these plans start happening, hopefully the guilt will fade away...
    I love plans, lists etc. but these plans are the best ones I've seen in a long time. They kind of go with the season - spring - anticipation of wonderful things to come.
    Much love as always

    Shents xxx

  4. Totally relate to the guilt thing !!
    Glad you are now starting to raise you head above water.All power to you and your plans.xxxx

  5. Great honey. That's just what you needed to hear, work wise. I suspect that having that 'put into perspective' has helped with a lot of other things as well. When we have a load on our plate, it's easy to feel totally overwhelmed by everything and not know how or where to start. The trick is usually to sort one thing, and the rest somehow follows almost by itself. Glad to hear/see your positivity moving up another gear. Deffo go and see Sarah in the summer (although it's not like you need the vitamin D!!) I might even go too if I have some spare pennies. I think you're amazing. xx

  6. Carole,
    I soooo understand about the guilt thing. I have had my share of guilt feelings as well. As women and mothers, it's hard to not feel that way at least some of the time. Good for you, for recognizing what you do need to focus on, your own health and well being! And who cares about that housework that doesn't get done!! Good luck with the plans and moving forward!

  7. Carole so glad to hear the positive spin you are putting in your life. It is so hard some time to 'see the forest for the trees' as they say when we are in the thick of it. By freeing yourself of the guilt, you are allowing yourself to move forward, and that is a great place to be, sounds like you have turned a very important corner. And yes definitely get away, it will be so energizing and refreshing.

    Take care, Love Rose Mary xoxoxo

  8. Crabbymonty,

    I agree, any positive is well worth grabbing hold of.
    You both remain in my thoughts, I think of Sheri every day and will be sending especially strong vibes your way tomorrow.
    Hope it goes well (*if Sheri's recovered enough to start)...
    (((Hugs))) to you both xxxx

  9. Hi Lamia,

    I tried taking it easy and *that* was when the guilt kicked in LOL....

    No seriously, I have taken more than a back step recently and re-evaluated everything. I think that Shents (above)is spot on when she says I'll sort it out for myself along the way. I just needed to start thinking clearly again - and my list has helped :-)
    I'm sure I'll be adding to it along the way too.

    Uncle sends his love to you too, sweetie. Love to everyone at home xxxx

  10. Hi Shents,

    I feel much more positive about things over this past week or so, I needed to 'plan' and hadn't been doing so. It's helped :-)

    Yes, the holiday is something to really look forward to and aim for. I love Rhodes and the fact that my Sister is there now makes it the perfect destination.
    Dj will probably moan that it's too hot (but 'tough' coz it's about me, me, me)..We can only go during the summer holidays which means it's the hottest time of year (july/august)...I'm at my best in the sun - he's a little wuss :-))) Anyway, definitely a positive to look forward to.

    Spring is such a nice time of year, I always think of it as the 'beginning' of the new year - rather than miserable ol' January.


  11. Rose...lovely to hear from you. I hope you're starting to feel a little better xxx

    Yes, the guilt thing is a real bugger eh!
    Ah well, yet another emotion to deal with along with all the other stuff that cancer seems to bring to the surface....bloody cancer!

    Hugs Rose and rest as much as you need to xxxx

  12. Thanks Lou for the lovely comment, as always.

    We need to get together soon, when we can organise something.

    You're right about the taking one thing and others fall into place. That's exactly what I did and it worked.
    Once I'd got my head around not being ready to go back to work, the rest fell into place easily.

    Catch up soon hun xxxx

  13. Hi Nancy,

    I think we're conditioned to feel guilty about things sometimes - from very young almost. Having something life changing happen, like cancer, really brings all the emotions to the fore...I've decided I have to be a little more selfish sometimes and put myself first. Hence my 'Yoga' plan, something just for ME :-)

    I'm glad you had a lovely break with your husband, it sounded perfect - better than *anything* the Doctor could order :-)
    Much luv xxxx

  14. Hi Rose Mary,

    Lovely to hear from you...have you disabled the comments on your own blog? The link was missing on your last post so couldn't drop by to say 'Hi'...

    Yes, I do feel that I've turned an important corner.
    I think I always knew that I would but got a bit lost along the way. With some helpful advice about putting things into perspective, I do feel I've now moved in the right direction - for the first time in a long while.
    I feel I've got some things to look forward to, which I'd lost sight of along the way. Making plans definitely helped..

    Lots of love Rose Mary xxxx

  15. Hi Carole,
    I am so pleased that you seem to be getting a little better, I know exactly what you mean about the guilt!
    Financially particularly...I feel that I am going to be off work longer than originally thought.
    You certainly sound very positive.
    Thank you so much for all of your support, I really do appreciate it.
    Do take care..and I am sure that you plans will work out very well.

  16. I've been doing yoga for a couple of months now and it is very good for the mind. However, I wouldn't recommend it until your wound has throughly healed as it can be quite intense. Just a thought.

    Yes you should be feeling guilty that your poor sister is all alone in sunny Rhodes and misses you tremendously, look forward to seeing you in the summer.

    hugs and more hugs, lit sis xxx

  17. Hi Sis,

    Yes, definitely will wait until everything has properly healed...my plans are sort of medium term.

    I do feel guilty that you have to be in that sunny place, it's just sooo awful :-)

    Looking forward to seeing you too, loads. Time will just fly by and before you know it, I'll be there. That's a promise Sis.

    Hugs and so much luv xxxx

  18. Hi Carole

    Great to hear that making medium to long term plans has given you a boost. It makes us feel, well, 'normal' to be planning things a way off like booking summer holidays.
    At the same time, cancer turns your life upside down and brings you face to face with the realisation we're not indestructible after all. Don't forget to also 'seize the day'.

    Hugs ((oo)) (cos Steve says I never add xxx's!)

  19. Hi Carole, I've been following your blog for some time but have only commented a couple of times. I'm so pleased you seem to have a more positive strategy now for your ongoing cancer journey. My partner was diagnosed with rectal cancer last September but his experience has been so different to yours and I feel so sad that you haven't enjoyed the standard of care he had and continues to receive. It's so wrong but it really does seem like a postcode lottery when it comes to medical care. I was appalled at your hospital experience following your surgery in November, and even more so when you described your experience of having your wound tended to in the absence of your regular nurse. The 'wounded finger' malarky beggared belief. No wonder you need bloody counselling! My Stevie had his surgery on 8th Feb and is recovering so well he hopes to try a phased return to work in 2 weeks time. He was lucky in that he didn't actually lose his rectum and has a temporary Ileostomy while the bowel/rectum heals, (though I promise you it wasn't as easy as it sounds and he certainly doesn't feel lucky!)Now about your planned holiday....If your previous blogs are anything to go by, then your an astute woman and likely to have some insight into the hell that is travel insurance for people with pre existing conditions,if not from personal experience then via your online community? I had a little chuckle at your last blog 'Doesn't fit the criteria're life insurance, so will you and other cancer sufferers fit the criteria for travel insurance? and if yes, at what cost? I'm already envisaging a future blog of your experiences of negotiating reasonably priced travel insurance! We are due for a much needed holiday to Majorca in June and I've been researching insurance, MIA Clear To Go gives reasonably priced illustrative examples but won't quote until at least 8 weeks before travel, however, a customer story (on another site) claims to have been quoted over £1000 for a week in Greece! I hope there's little truth in the story though because you more than anyone Carole could do with a holiday right now..... lots of hugs, Nicky

  20. Hi Nicky,

    It's great to hear from you again - I've wondered for a while now how things were going with Steve.

    Did he have to do Chemo post surgery Nicky?

    Re the travel insurance - yes, it can be very high but luckily I have insurance through my bank as part of my package. Had someone check the policy over and their small print makes it clear that you don't have to advise of new ailments - only existing ones at the time of the policy start.
    Getting any new insurance policies is very hard after a cancer diagnosis and I can well believe the £1k quote. A friend was quoted more than the cost of the overall holiday recently, just for insurance.

    Please send my best wishes to Steve and hope his recovery continues to be as smooth as possible.
    Much luv to you both xxxx

  21. Carole,

    We sometimes get stuck in a rut with cancer - I know, have been there and bought the t-shirt... It will always be there as we have discussed but it doesn't have to define who you are. Yes it changes you and shapes you, I am certainly a different person but it doesn't own me...Your LIFE is more than just about cancer although it is difficult sometimes.

    Yes, that guilt can be a bitch, the cancer mucks with your head and you blame yourself for all sorts of changes and things that impact others...not your fault that you have it so not your fault what the outcomes are... although saying that, if it is a positive I blame cancer... like meeting you, Shents, Rose, Lisa etc...If it wasn't for cancer I wouldn't have met you all, so absolutely blame cancer for that one :-)....

    Remember it is cancers fault not yours...

    Much Love

    T xxx