In May 2008 I had an emergency operation to remove an obstruction in my colon (as well as about a metre of colon). The tumour turned out to be malignant and afterwards a PET scan showed that it had metastasized, which made me Stage IV. Two malignant tumours were found in my liver, requiring chemotherapy over the summer and further surgery on September 22nd. During the second operation a third tumour was discovered in my liver as well as numerous lesions attached to the peritoneum, so I was stapled up again without the liver resection being done. A couple of weeks later I was told my case was terminal as surgery was no longer a possibility, and I was given about a year to live. But then further testing (CT and PET scans) once again opened up the surgery option and I had a third operation (liver resection and removal of one out of two peritoneal lesions) on November 20th.
On December 11th, 2008 I got my biopsy results. I had been waiting three weeks to find out whether the next step in my treatment would be more surgery (removal of the spleen, one kidney and part of the pancreas) or “just” more chemo… and everything came back negative! Which was wonderful news. However, another PET scan the following March showed that I had two new liver tumours, so I started four months of chemo in April 2009, finishing at the end of July. Since the following September all PET scans, which I had every six months, came back clear – honestly I still cannot believe my luck! The one on October 28th, 2014 was a game changer as it was my “5th anniversary” scan, marking five cancer-free years. Monitoring was changed to annual PET scans and in January 2015 the chemo port was finally taken out.
With the ten year cancer-free mark coming up I was finally beginning to feel out of the woods, then a PET scan in January 2018 showed the “area of inflammation” that had been showing up on my scans since 2008 had increased dramatically. So it was back to my oncologist (a new one as my previous one had retired) and since then I’ve had a variety of tests, with the latest CT scan in June 2022. I’m still waiting for my next oncology appointment for that one. After more than three years of this they still don’t know what is going on, but they say that – so far – it’s not behaving like cancer. The only way for them to know for sure would be to cut me open again and they really don’t want to do that. So, the waiting game continues.
It’s been quite a ride. After the second time on chemo I had hoped to be recovered and back to work by October (2009) – I’d been off work for over a year and a half – but it proved harder than I thought it would be to “get my life back”. I started on some new work projects and, with the help of my friends and a lot of hard work, I was able to get back on my feet again. I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported me, both financially and emotionally. And I’m especially appreciative of those friends old and new who stood by me and were non-judgemental when times were tough and I wasn’t at my best. I honestly couldn’t have made it without you.
[ all cancer-related posts can be found here ]