I have thought long and hard about writing this blog about what has happened to me in the last six weeks, to be honest it seems like I’m talking about somebody else, it’s all still a bit surreal.
I spoke to friends and family who all encouraged me to share my experiences in the hope that it might help somebody else who is going through the same tough time as I am.
I can remember the very first time I was in terrible pain, my stomach felt like there were knives inside carving me up. It was the afternoon of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, I was in tears with the pain and so we went to a walk-in clinic, but typically as I waited to see the doctor the pain subsided. When the doctor examined me he couldn’t find anything wrong, put it down to a virus and prescribed me some diarrhoea sachets.
A few days later my doctor phoned me up, he did sound concerned and told me that if I had the pain again to go and see him straight away, this did worry me a little but as I wasn’t in pain anymore I forgot all about it.
Skip forward three months and we are going on a cruise in America. I wasn’t feeling that great, I had a stomach ache and found myself sitting on the toilet far more frequently that I ever did before. My poo varied from healthy to slimy to containing some blood, but I put it down to stress: preparing for the holiday, getting work done before we went, etc.
I can remember that whilst we were on the plane the stomach pain got worse, I couldn’t face any food and couldn’t concentrate on watching a film or reading a book. For the first three days of the holiday I wasn’t feeling good, sticking to bland food (such a waste with the wonderful food that was on offer), but I felt it would be better for me.
Then the pain stopped and I started to eat the lovely food and I put it down to being able to relax on the ship and taking it easy.
Once home, there was a bowel cancer screening kit waiting for me, I wondered if this was a sign, of course I had Googled my symptoms and also the symptoms of bowel cancer, but I never for one moment thought that was what I had, thinking it would be IBS or maybe even piles.
So I duly did my sample, noting that there was blood in the poo and thinking to myself, “That’s a good one to send them, hopefully they’ll tell me what’s wrong.”
About a week later I got a letter from the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme to say that my kit result showed that further tests were needed. I had to have a colonoscopy to detect if it was bowel cancer or not, or whether it was polyps which would be removed during the colonoscopy.
I had the date of my colonoscopy: 22nd November, 2022, to say I was nervous is an understatement.