Cancer and Me

Cancer and Me


So, I’ve been very neglectful of this blog in recent years. The covid pandemic obviously had an effect but really InfoSec drifted away from my list of out-of-office hobbies and interests.

Now I find that my health has overtaken all other concerns. Specifically, cancer with a very poor prognosis.

Diagnosis & Surgery

In late October 2022 I had my first symptom, a very large amount of blood in my stool. By a lot, I mean a lot. Think of a honeycomb with blood instead of honey.

I contacted my doctor the same day, got a face-to-face appointment shortly after. I had some blood tests and a faecal tests. Physical examination ruled out a few possible causes. So the doctor placed me on a fast-track for colonoscopy as cancer was a possible cause of the bleeding along with things like Crohn’s disease.

The colonoscopy revealed several polyps in the rectum, the lowest part of the colon. One of these was thought to be very suspicious and was indeed bleeding. So some biopsies were taken. CT and MRI scans were arranged.

The biopsies did confirm that the suspect polyp was cancerous. So the surgeon recommended an urgent major operation, an ileostomy.

So, just two months after my first symptom I had the ileostomy, the removal of a sizeable chunk of my rectum. I now have a stoma and a bag.

The Cancer Spreads

I cannot overstate how impressed I was with the speed of the response from all my clinicians. Nor indeed with their professionalism and care.

The removed section was examined. Alas, this indicated that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes in the vicinity of the original tumour. More scans were ordered and a course of chemotherapy recommended to “mop up” any remaining nasties.

At this point lots of statistics were discussed, but I agreed to the treatment plan and everything was setup.

The scans came back with disappointing news. The cancer had spread further, to my liver. The distribution and size of these secondary tumours means that the cancer in the liver is considered inoperable.

Where I am now

And so, there we have it. From healthy, fit fifty-one year old to a prognosis of months to live, perhaps a couple of years. The impact of this is impossible to put across here. Numb, distressed and not really understanding all this.

The prognosis has caused the treatment plan to be altered a little. I’ve had some issues with side effects to chemotherapy. But most annoying my immune system is not recovery well between treatments. Hopefully we can get this sorted soon.

So life is very different. I have a stoma and all that entails with bag changes and changes to diet. I now have a PICC line (see below) that needs its own special care and further changes to life style.

(Image credit as shown.)

I’ll update this page as necessary or as the mood takes me. But I’m very open to questions if you wish to ask.

Charity Fundraiser

I thought it appropriate in these circumstances to start a little fundraiser ahead of my 52nd birthday for Bowel Cancer UK. You can find more about this via the link below.

No obligation to donate but every little is appreciated.

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March 2023
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