The day I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, I was dumbstruck, and the day that I was informed that I needed surgery to remove a section of my bowel, sew up my bum and attach a colostomy bag, was the end for me, emotionally and physically. I could not envisage my future. I could only see the dramatic and horrible change taking place in relation to my darling husband of 4 years and my active family and social life. Game over for me. Selfish, I know, but you’d have to know me to understand. (Photo from Zumba Charity Gala). The embarrassment, stigma and limitations that would be placed upon my life would simply have been unbearable. My light was on dim but I pressed on with my treatment. 5 weeks of radio and chemotherapy at Christies under the care of Dr McBain who was sensitive to my distress but thorough in her description of what lay ahead. She also advised me about ‘booster’ radiotherapy in clinical trial at The Clatterbridge Oncology Centre. I wasn’t really ready for prolonging the treatment at that point and declined.
It was unfortunate that my first treatment fell upon the same day that my husband was taking his godson and brother to the Trent Bridge Test. I knew they were really excited about it so I could not bear the thought of disappointing them. My son and his partner took me and it was during a meeting with Dr McBain’s assistant (I feel terrible as I have forgotten her name), that she, and they, convinced me that as I was a ‘suitable case for treatment’ (ha!), and because I could still opt for surgery if the additional radiotherapy didn’t work, that I relented and signed up! She highly recommended I read Mark Davies’ book and visited his website, which I subsequently did. I was horrified and fascinated by his book but onward and upward?
My treatment progressed through July and for 3 weeks I was doing fine, then it hit. The soles of my feet peeled. My fingertips became too sensitive to touch anything. My nether regions, including sexual organs, were on fire. I couldn’t sit comfortably, relax or sleep. I was already ‘dying’. By week 4, on arrival at Christies, the Admissions Receptionist took one look at me and referred me to Dr McBain for immediate consultation. My chemo was discontined immediately and I did one last week of radiotherapy.
I then attended Dr Suni Myint’s clinic for a consultation and the rest is my future. A future I didn’t think I was going to have. 3 treatments – invasive, embarrassing and a little uncomfortable, but worth every second of discomfort. The staff were excellent but here comes the payback for being a ‘test case’, one day several foreign medical practictioners were given the privilege of ‘seeing my arse’ (Mark Davies, thank you). A very small price to pay for being 3 years cancer free. I owe my life to Professor Myint and the Papillon Treatment. This treatment needs to be an NHS standard.