About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Be loud, be clear

This week is all about raising awareness about bowel cancer. Reading other peoples blog posts on this made me wonder how long I have been living with this without knowing. This post is going to look back over the last few years and point out some of what I believe were indicators which I ignored, or put down to other things. Let's go back almost 2 years to when I gave birth to Imogen. Something wasn't right in my nether regions. I can vividly remember going to my 6 week postnatal check and telling the doctor I felt that everytme I opened my bowels it felt like I was passing a hedgehog. That is the best way to describe some of the pain I was in. Sometimes it would take a long time to come and the pain would be quite long lasting. One time on the way to Somerset to visit my family I went to the toilet at Fleet and was still in pain when we left the A303 and joined the A358. For those of you whose geography is not to good, that's about 2 hours of pain. Not excruciating, unbearable pain, but the kind of niggling pain that you are aware of. Going back to the 6 week postnatal check, the GP had a look (not something I enjoy,but something I have experienced a lot over the last 2 years) and diagnosed simple piles. The solution - lactulose. This is supposed to work by softening your stools making them easier to pass. It did, but there was still pain. So I went back to the GP. Saw a different GP this time. I remember him being impressed with Imogen's sucking blister as she was about 10-12 weeks old. He was also impressed I was still breast feeding. But that is a whole other story. He had a look (see not even 6 months in and 2 people have had a look!!). He diagnosed a rectal tear and pescribed a rectal ointment which gave me incredible headaches about 25 minutes after applying, not good when you have a not yet 2 year old and maybe 3 month old baby. The rectal appointment worked, but I had to use it for about 6 weeks so kept on going back for repeat prescriptions. Now I am wondering whether the intermittant bleeding might have been an early warning sign. To be frank here this probe has been around for the last two years and in the end I tarted to just accept that I would get a bit constipated, pass some very painful stools and then things would clear up. Over the remainder of 2010 things settled then flared up and the settled down again. Towards the end of 2010 or the start of 2011 I spoke to my little sister, who was training to be a nurse about that fact that sometimes I would be constipated in the morning, but have unbelievably loose bowels in the evening. At the time she saidnothing. Since then she has said that it did raise some red flags for her, but she was dealing with her own issues at the time. Following our car crash in February, I started too notice a few other health problems. 1. I was loosing weight. Not massive weight dropping off me but enough that some of my clothes were starting to get lose. Several people commented on it. I assumed it was down to the fact that I was walking a lot and eating healthily with 2 toddlers to encourage to eat. 2. I was getting dizy spells. Sometimes when I stood up too quickly which is common if your blood pssure is low. However these were not exclusive events. Sometimes I would almost black out when hanging the washing out, or standingat the hob. Another thing that was not ideal with 2 young children. 3. Stomach and bowel problem were getting worse. Not only was I having constipation and loose stools in the same day at least one every couple of weeks, but the stomach pains that went with them were immense. I would be doubled over Iain. A couple of people have asked how I knew they weren't period pains.lets leave it with as a woman you know. 4. Finally the breathlessness. Pushing a pushchair with two toddlers is hard enough work, but I remember taking the children to Wakehurst and being absolutely exhausted so much so that they fell asleep in the car and whe we got home I fell asleep in the car too. Towards the end of May things came to a head on camp with Anthony's scout troop. I was camping with two toddlers at the tool of a massive hill and had horrendous diarrhoea and vommitting. But still I put off going to the GP. Eventually after another 6 weeks I finally managed to get a child free day and a doctors appointment on the same day. The outstanding diagnosis - low blood pressure and come back for blood tests next week. I never made it to those blood tests, by then I had been admitted to hospital and was causing a lot of medical professionals a headache. So, in hindsight, what would I have done? It seems such a easy thing to say but I would have badgered my GP. I would have gone every month and made a fuss about the pain I was in, the discomfort I was experiencing and I would not have taken no for an answer. If I knew the what I know now about bowel cancer and complications I would have lived at my GP surgery until I got investigations and knew why things were so bad. What do I want you to do? If there is anything worrying you about your bowel habits please go to the GP. Yes it might be cancer, but it moght not and if it is you want it caught it early so you don't go through the uncertainty that it have over the last 6 months.