I am new to this forum and I can't seem to stop writing posts.
Who is PhilPepper? I am Phil. Pepper is my stoma. I tried to avoid naming it, but it just had to happen.
So after an unexpected diagnosis, a few scans, a few blood tests, and finally a surgical consult, I checked in for my lower bowel resection. That was Thursday and now it's 1:30 am following Tuesday.
As my title suggest, I could be cancer free since the nice doctor cut it out. However, I guess I have the DNA to always be at risk, and it may have been so advanced that surgery is only the first step in my treatment. The reality is, I am a cancer patient for life and I just had surgery to buy me some time. This doesn't seem to be such a difficult scenario but I am struggling. I can't tell you how much I just want it gone.
I am hoping for the best. In 12 weeks they will reverse my ileostomy and life will return to almost normal. Followed up by regular and thorough checks.
There are people I want to be here for.
Just replying to myself to extend my brief introduction to less brief.
Release from hospital today. Still going through a lot and suffering pain. But that is all surgical related. Apart from having a stoma and bag hanging off the front of me, my suffering hasn't been the result of cancer. It was silently killing me in the background , mostly unnoticed. I may have experienced all this trauma if I was having my appendix out. So it's kind of like it doesn't count. Like I shouldn't complain. I had cancer, it was cut out and now it's just surgery pain to worry about.
I am still experiencing that voice telling me, don't be soft, harden up, just ignore it. I think it's called Man Disease. I thought Dr Corbett beat that to death with my diagnosis, but obviously not. I think I'm going to be fighting with myself a lot. Being cancer free doesn't mean I'm no longer a cancer patient. I still have a stoma. I still have an upcoming surgery. I still have a major change in lifestyle ahead. I may still need chemo. I may still have early signs of cancer in my lungs. Let's not mention the emotional burden so far and yet to come.
Cancer free, not cancer patient free. It's not hard to reconcile. Cancer patient for life, however long or short it may be. I guess the goal is to reach the highest point where quantity and quality meet; and try to not get hit by the bus before then.
On a lighter note... do you like my profile picture? This is Sally, my nine year old cavalier king Charles. She is Daddy's princess and she has been missing me like crazy. Looking forward to going home for cuddles.
I'm a dog person. Post me photos of your four legged friends.
Welcome to the community @PhilPepper
It's lovely to have you here! I'm Kate, the Online Community Manager here, so you'll see me about from time to time.
I hope that your recovery from surgery goes well, what's the next step after this?
I must admit, I absolutely love your profile picture. Sally is gorgeous!! I am also a dog person, I've grown up with dachshunds, unfortunately the last one passed away a number of years ago whilst I was pregnant with my eldest child. We've now got 2 kids and just starting to think about getting a dog again. We're lucky other close members of the family have some lovely kelpies amongst others so the kids get to enjoy them in the interim.
Puppy stories need photos.
My next step is recover from surgery, while waiting for pathology to come back. I will see my surgeon in 4 weeks, but if chemo is needed, I don't know when it is supposed to start. Still a little fuzzy in that area.
Also, in the meantime, is learning how to manage an ostomy bag at home, then at work. It's a crappy situation, but poo jokes are on the rise in my family. Despite being a little pun-gent.
I guess that's extension 3. Getting less brief.
You nailed it. That's what I'm experiencing. However, dog rule.
So I found out yesterday arvo that the cancer was in a single solitary piss-ant little lymph node. So it's off to chemo for me. So now I have an appointment with an oncologist later this month. Chemo will start around 6 weeks post surgery.
I'm not sure exactly when I started thinking this fight would be a cake walk. The news zapped a lot of strength. I've started getting angry at people checking up on me to see how I am. I guess I'm angry.
Great to hear you are up and about. Hope you get rid of your pepper soon.
Today is end of week 4 since my surgery. Still hurts a little but otherwise in great spirit. No chemo recommended for me. I have now been transferred to urology department to further investigate my kidney issue. Appointment is in two weeks and I am very nervous about it. Life is still on hold for me for now. Can’t plan anything until I know what my kidney needs, if anything.
I am impressed with your humour and positivity. Please keep it up.
I know this is a older post.
I just want to say thank you for taken the time to reply to my first post a couple a week ago.
I love the term Man disease!!!! I have said for years the number 1 killer of men is pride...
I have suffered from it pretty much since I was a kid . Specifically when it comes to showing emotion.
My family has always expected me to be the one to keep with the younger kids even when I was just a kid myself. I had to take care of my younger brother after our parents abandoned us. I didn't have time to be mad.
I started working after school and ended up leaving HS to work full-time.
Man disease sucks...
I should know in a few days if I do have cancer.. Im here trying to learn as much as I can about different cancer and treatment
I guess talking about it here is my way of avoiding talking about it with those around me.
My weaknesses is seeing people crying. I tired to hide this from my wife but she walked in on me when I was talking to my doctor. Once reports started looking like it was cancer we decided it was best to tell our adult children and our church so we could get people praying for us.
We are empty nesters but who needs children when you have dogs:)
Unusual name. Irish?
You could have picked a later post. This one was too optimistic, obviously. Back then I was thinking I managed to prevent it spreading. Maybe this time around.
I can suggest a cure for issues with telling things to your wife. Get her to sign up and follow your posts. My wife was a little bent out of shape if I posted something that I didn't tell her first. The reality is, when writing a post, if something pops into my head, I don't think about if my wife is already aware of it. She got over it eventually. She got bored of following my posts too.
I realised I had accepted cancer too easily and I was ready to go if it came to it. It was a rude shock, that it wasn't acceptable to other people. It's easy to think me, me, me when you get cancer. I can honestly say that I have a new reason to live and it's to be here for the people who need me in their lives. The people who need you will probably cope less than you. It sucks when you are the sick one and have to be the strong one for others, if they can't be strong for you. Meh! Who ever said life was fair?
It is funny when you are on the cancer bus. It's easy to talk to the other passengers about their cancer journey. It's easy to talk to the people who join you on your journey. There are going to be a whole lot of people who avoid you. It's hard to talk to someone about their pending death. I used to be an avoider. I didn't know what to say to people who had cancer. You can only talk about the weather so long before health comes up. I was worried about upsetting the sick person, when they probably had no issues with it. Not my finest display of friendship.
I tend to keep my close circles up to date with my progress. I don't mind if they avoid me. It's annoying when everyone asks how I am. I do group updates every now and then. I try not to answer individuals when they ask. It gets too repetitive. And the story gets more dramatic every time I tell it. So I send group messages when I feel there's something new to say. I try to always include a joke, because I can't not laugh at it. It's a way to help stop them worrying so much.
In general, I used to be the sort of person who would hide weaknesses. As a stupid man, I was looking be strong, smart, popular and successful. What can I say? I don't give a shit about that anymore. I have cancer. I might die from it. I might catch covid19 and die from that. A guy like me could even die from vanity cause I'm just soooo good looking. Was I trying to make a point here? Not sure. Just waffling I think.
Anyhow. Just talk about it. Let people know you are okay to talk about it. Tell people you'll haunt them; or leave them out of the will if they piss you off. If they want to know who inherits the car, tell them you are getting buried in it. Beyond the lighter side of it, it might lead to some other serious conversions about how much you mean to others and how you'd like them to remember you. I didn't have those conversations with my Dad. I didn't know how to talk to him about his death before it happened. I don't want to take that opportunity away from my kids. I regret not asking him a lot of things that I'd like to know.
Just remember, if you know there's a chance you'll die soon, you have time to prepare. It's when you don't expect it, you run the risk of people finding out what's in your browser history. Make sure you clear it out before palliative care.
Take it easy and get some sleep.
Be part of this supportive community