Hi, My name is Suz and today was my first day of chemo... but I am jumping ahead of myself. I was diagnosed in October 2019 with stage 3 B obstructed bowel cancer. I thought I was constipated but it turned out a little more serious than that. I was rushed to Fiona Stanley and given emergency surgery to removed said cancer but the next day the stitches failed in the bowl and I ended up with sepsis and a second surgery was performed and I was fitted with a brand new stoma. Again it was an emergency and there was no planning where to put the darn thing so they picked just about the worse place to put it and I am unable to actually change the bag myself. I ended up on life support for 3 days but I don't remember much about the first 3 weeks which is kind of a blessing. Being of the delicate age of 67 I made the choice to go into aged care so I could get the help I needed with my stoma as I didn't want to be a burden to my kids. Oh forgot to mention my lovely husband decided to leave me 2 months after surgery and he left me with no money and no way to live on my own even though I had a perfectly good granny flat to live in. Now please don't think I am bitter as it was the very best thing he could have done and I am perfectly happy without him. Now I can concentrate on myself and my health.

After 5 months in hospital it was decided that I was so weak chemo would probably have killed me or at the very best left me in a wheelchair and they thought I had a good chance of it being removed as they got great margins with the removal. Unfortunately with my first PET scan it was found the cancer had recurred in my bowel and the lymph glands were involved so I entered secondary cancer stage. Fortunately I am much healthier now and can have chemo. In fact I had my first session today and I have a brand new infuser port under the skin of my right collar bone which is working wonderfully. I know it is only my first day but apart from the needle hurting going in as I hadn't been able to have a numbing patch and I was very bruised everything else has been so easy. I am not really having many side effects at all apart of a tiny touch of nausea which one Maxalon fixed quickly. I know it is early days and it is going to get more intense but so far so good. 

With chemo they say I could get 2 - 4 years of extra life but I have heard stories of people lasting for up to 12 years. I am choosing to go for the 12 years so wish me well with my fight. I am very positive and up beat. I have had my feelings of numbness, anger, and fear with lots of tears but right now I am in a great space and accept all that is happening. I never asked why me? I figure why not me, I did everything bad for me and now have to pay the consequences, but enough of all that. I will say one thing about that though, I had two test kits sent to be one at 60 years and one at 65 years old but I was silly and thought I can't do that yucky thing so I didn't. Things might be different now if I had but I am not angry about it. I do now take every chance I get to encourage people to take the test.

I have a great team treating me in Rockingham and I love the aged care facility I am staying in. I am lucky to have a wonderful set of three daughters who have been amazing. I have talked about my advanced medical care plans but have to do one for the hospital. I am lucky enough to have palliative care in this aged care facility so I don't have to end my days in hospital. 

Yes I have a very uncooperative stoma that insists on failing at the most awkward of times but hey when you get one of these babies you quickly learn to have a great sense of humour about the whole thing and you carry towels and blankets to cover yourself with, lol. I have become quite the teaching aid when it comes to applying the silly thing I just can't see to do it myself and I have not been blessed with four hands which is what it takes to apply successfully.  I am perfectly happy to answer any questions you have about anything I have mentioned and any insights into what is to come are more than welcome. Oh on a really good note I used to be really fat but I have lost 30 kilos. For now I am not allowed to lose any more but I feel so much better without carrying all that weight, I just don't recommend the diet, lol.

Well that is me in a nutshell but there is one big fly in the ointment, I suffer from insomnia and I haven't slept a wink all night. Well life is never perfect.

All my love and best wishes, Suz. 

New Contributor

Hey Suz, hope you are still in the positive frame of mind. I too had Bowel Cancer and a stoma @ 56 but have pulled through.  I developed pneumonia after 3 sessions of Chemo and almost died, but the colonoscopy ward at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse bought me back, for that I am eternally greatful. My stoma wasn't so bad as yours and I had a few "accidents" with it but thats all part and parcel of having the damn thing. I live alone so I had to deal with it all myself. You can read  my experience in these blogs just search for Fraydnot.

Again hope you are getting the better of this incidious disease. Kind regards - Tony 

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Tony I am so glad you made it through your personal battle with bowel cancer.  I am afraid that today I am caught in a bad space. I have my third round of chemo tomorrow and for 2 days I will be attached to my Siamese twin, Cleopatra ( my chemo infuser ). At least the chemo department manages to accessorise my little bum bag with my chic sense of fashion. Well not really but I like to pretend they do. Last time I had a shoulder bag of navy blue with lil anchors on it.

Right now I am going through some nasty side effects and I am feeling sorry for myself, I have tried so hard to be brave for everyone else I sort of forgot to think about myself,  Now I am not going to put on a brave face for other people, they get to see how i really feel.  Today I am tired, grumpy, in pain and the last thing on my mind right now is laughing so to hell with it, now they get me warts and all.

I figure I have spent my life being good, doing the right thing, making sure no one has to worry about me but now it's about time I turned this around. Sometimes I am going to feel like do do and when I do I can't be bothered trying to be 'brave' for everyone else. Sod it. 

So tomorrow I will go to hospital, be quiet, not crack any jokes and just get through.

Fair Enough?????

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Keep up the good fight Suz, you will have plenty of days like this, and it is OK to feel that way, and show it to all and sundry!

Don't pretend on how you are feeling - be honest with yourself and everyone around you. They also need to know how you're feeling, as they will give you space when you need it, without being offended.

My other advise is to get as much rest as you can take! Get others to help out making cups of tea sandwiches etc (whatever you like!) and rest during these "heavy" days.

Regards again - Tony



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