My Cancer Story
In November 2004 I was diagnosed with cancer in the lower bowel (colo-rectal cancer)– there can be few more sobering moments in your life than when you are told you have a malignant tumour in your body. Although my wife Eve was sitting there beside me I had never felt more alone in my life – this was to be as much a battle of the mind as the body.
After the earlier test I went in suspecting the worst, I thought I was fully prepared for it – but nothing prepares you for that sort of news. Everything said after that was delivered through a fog – I heard it all but understood little. On that morning as I walked out of the doctor’s rooms I had an empty, lost feeling – believing and not believing I had cancer at the same time. It wasn’t denial just a failure of an emotion charged brain to compute all the information
I have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses who looked after me throughout my treatment. Their care and concern was of immense help. Luckily for me I had a wonderful support network – from my wife and family to close friends. But what I craved most before undergoing surgery was information – I needed to know more about this cancer – survival rate, methods of treatment, recovery.
Once again I was lucky my wife is a homoeopathic practitioner and as such had studied medical sciences – she could explain what the doctor had said. After my fog had lifted I thought of the questions I should have asked in his surgery. We have close friends in the medical profession and they were at the end of the phone when I had a specific query and believe me there were plenty.
Acting on advice I consulted with two surgeons before choosing one. I did the same with my radiotherapist and I spoke with three oncologists before choosing the one who I thought was on the same wavelength as me. I wanted an oncologist who would accept I would be using complementary medicine alongside western practices. This of course isn’t for everybody but it works for me, but everyone has the right to pursue the treatment they think will work for them. My surgery was successful as was the follow-up operation to get me off the ileostomy bag. I underwent radiotherapy and a course of chemo. Although everything went well there was 8 months of very painful and uncomfortable recovery. My consolation was that as every week went by I felt better than the week before. It was slow but there was constant improvement. Mind you if I’d heeded all the advise I would have started having colonoscopies once I turned 40 and the cancer would have been detected much earlier and would not have been life threatening – but like many a male I though I was bullet proof.
Although if it’s in the genes as it was in my case –early detection is the first line of defence. A good diet, exercise and a sensible life style lessen the risk of cancer and while I have always eaten well exercise was never a high priority. I owe my return to health not only to wonderful carers but my total involvement in the decision making process – choosing the specialists and after much deliberation my course of treatment. I was lucky I had the perfect support network – but as I’ve found from the many people who write to me in a similar situation – for a lot of people diagnosed with cancer there has been NO support network to help them through the most trying of times.
During my recuperation I hit on the idea of a DVD to help answer those many questions that you have when diagnosed with cancer. I looked on the web and there was nothing, anywhere in the world that was similar. So I set about making the DVD myself. If it can’t provide you with the answer your looking for it will tell how you can find out what you want to know.
Cancer Council SA was a wonderful help in producing Cancer – What Now? and the Cancer
Good luck on your personal journey.