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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Cancer And Me...

I began writing this about seven hours after being discharged from hospital, after being taken their some seven hours earlier today (Mon 11th Oct 2010) by Steve the paramedic.

The pain was obviously too much fourteen hours ago for me to bear, the phone was picked up and the questions were answered that facilitated the dispatch of a wonderful medical professional to my aid.

My fight with Cancer started four years ago, still chirpy, but grey and ashen, I had just met someone that I had admired from afar for quite some time. That someone made me stand a little taller, smile a little broader, every time I saw them.


I had been losing blood for a good few months, even went to my local hospital and was duly prodded and internally searched, they tutted and reminded me that my own doctor could have dealt with my so called emergency, and I was to think twice before I came to an A+E ever again.


Satisfied that I wasn't dying and I was being a little baby about it all, I carried on. grateful that my new interest was keeping me...interested.


Months passed, a little weaker and a little greyer, I showed my bored GP a camera phone picture I took of a visit to a public toilet and the bath of blood it contained, camera phones have such clarity these days don't they?

Duly dispatched to a consultant, and after quick succession of barium enemas and CT scans and MRI imaging, after the final look with an expensive bendy camera with a snipping tool attached, a large bit of something was torn from its festering mooring and brought out into the cold light of an operating theatre. Still, my strength never left me...


That thing that saw its first light was being gripped by the snakelike scope, its brightly lit l.e.d. eye emphasised this thumb sized slice of cancers grey-red colour. The thing on the end of the scope that grew within me, wasn't something that had Cancer on it, but it was Cancer itself. I was awake, undrugged during the entire process. But, I had some strength to draw from...

They probably call it the big "C" because everyone capitalises the word "Cancer" but from now on, I'm going to write it simply as, cancer.

So colorectal cancer was the diagnosis, its also called colon and bowel cancer but whatever this evil wants to call itself it gave me nine months left to do my goodbyes.

Drastic surgery ensued, quickly. The next eleven days I was medically starved, no food or liquids passed my lips, strangely still I wasn't even hungry during all that time, I wasted away, my body started to eat itself  and it certainly enjoyed its meal, because I lost two stone-that's 28 pounds in American. My strength never left me...

Because of my Strength, I quickly started to wash myself rather than take the easy option of having a nimble fingered nurse to do it for me. My stomach was being pumped out through my nose twice a day to stop the juices that destroy food from destroying my newly shortened lower bowel and half of a rectum that was left.

On the twelfth day I was solo, free from tubes coming out of three places, free of a multi spinal epidural of which one is normally sufficient for a woman to give birth, but was left in for nearly two weeks to stop a pain that truly wanted to be noticed. My strength grew...

The machines that pumped fluids and nutrients into the tree of life that was the mountainous weighty cannula that stuck out of my arm, was removed, my morphine machine that pumped useless morphine that never ever worked on me was switched off, It ignored my screams in the night, and it beeped and watched me praying that a couple of hundred pushes of the button would send me into oblivion. My strength never left me...


That day I was free, I Slowly started to strengthen myself by walking around a table in a visitors room, albeit with a zimmer frame... round and round, hundreds of times, I had to get strong by myself because there was something I had to do...


What was this thing I had to do? Dear weary and patient reader?


In my hospital, their is a multi-faith chapel, its quiet and still. I took a woman that I met some four months previously inside and asked her to marry me.


In the second paragraph above the phone call to the paramedics was made by my wife, I couldn't do it...


In the seventh paragraph when I was diagnosed with cancer, the person holding my hand and held her composure with the straightest of backs, and with just one tear, was my wife...

My strength, the strength I talked about in the above paragraphs wasn't me at all, it was her.

Every step of the process she never left my side, never blinked in disgust at my little accidents in the early stages of recovery, she never faltered or showed any weariness at the long long road to recovery, I had now been given a few more years of life.

When she was at work, I crawled and sobbed my way to the bathroom, sometimes taking up to an hour to get there and get out of the bath, there where times when I lay in bed for a whole day unable to physically hold myself up, going without that all important cup of tea we British find solace in. It was waiting to be made just yards away in the kitchen.

When she came to visit me I walked, didn't show a struggle, didn't tell her of the hell day I just had.


Her just being there made me stand strong. She IS my strength.


You read poems about heroes and angels sent from heaven, well, I'm certainly not going to start attempting to insult you with a silly poem or ode, I feel naked enough now telling you all this, you dear suffering reader!


My children played they're important part in my recovery and their isn't enough electronic ink on whatever your reading this on, that can thank them enough either.


So, there you are, cancer and me. as the title above says, but this piece is not really about me, it never has been dear deceived reader.

...it was about my wife, Carolyn all along.


Until next time...


Oh! My emergency dash in Steve the paramedics car today? well, I still don't know! I will no doubt find out in the ensuing weeks ahead, But, whatever! Everything is alright because as I write this, she sleeps, and its my turn to protect her while she does, as you get to know me, you will know its the night that belongs to me, its when I work, it was when I walked dozens of miles around a five foot wide table in a cold dark visitors room in a NHS hospital that saved my life, so I could ask an angel to marry me.


Alright! alright! I got a bit poetical and weepy when I did that last paragraph, so sue me... Oh! And thanks for reading to the end, dear, now very weary reader...