A journey from my initial diagnosis of rectal cancer to wherever it takes me
It’s 3 years to the day that I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. I asked the doctor how long I would live if I didn’t receive any treatment, the answer was 6 months to a year.
So I’ve already had 2 years of ‘extra time’ and hopefully a few more. In that time I’ve seen my eldest son get married and I’ve now got a beautiful granddaughter. I’ve been on holidays both in the UK and Europe. I’ve been to numerous music festivals and camped. I’ve been determined that cancer wouldn’t change the things I like to do.
I’m not the person I was 3 years ago. I’ve had 3 major operations, my belly looks like a road map, and I’ve just finished my 5th chemotherapy regime plus I’ve had radiotherapy. Due to the location of my cancer, on my left sciatic nerve, I am now labelled as incurable but treatable. I’ve lost the use of my left leg and cannot walk without support. My mobility issues have caused me the most problems. I have been a keen gardener and the proud owner of an allotment. Now to get anything done in the garden or allotment takes a lot longer or I rely on friends and family to keep on top of it all. I have successfully applied for Personal Independence payments. I was awarded the standard rate for living allowance but the enhanced rate for mobility. I have a blue badge for the car which has been a godsend and I’ve invested in a wheelchair and an electric scooter. I’m a nightmare riding it in supermarkets. I still go to rugby matches. I swapped my season ticket in the stands for a disabled season ticket at pitch level, Not only was it half the price but also included a ticket for my ‘carer’ plus a disabled parking place. Result!
I have been very fortunate that I’ve not suffered too much from the side effects of chemotherapy. I get tired very easily but I’m now 60 (there was a time when I didn’t think I’d still be here) so perhaps part of my fatigue is due to my age. I do like an afternoon nap.
I’ve just been rescanned and will get the results next week. As always I’m hoping for the best and planning for the worst. I’ve always had the mantra of what will be will be.
So, with everything that has happened to me I’m still here. My life has changed so much. I have a permanent ileostomy which I haven’t had a problem with. In the two and a bit years I’ve had Beryl (my stoma) I’ve had about half a dozen ‘issues’. So we get along fine.
When I look back over the past three years and what I’ve put my body through I am so glad I’m still here. I still have ambitions and things I want to do. A local boat club are part of the Sailability scheme and I’m hoping to learn to sail. I’m a bit too old for wheelchair rugby but you never know.
I have been blessed with a wonderful group of friends and loved ones who have supported me through thick and thin. I owe them all so much. I have met some amazing people along the way. A chemotherapy suite is not always a happy place but to sit and watch other people going through their treatment is truly a humbling experience.
Apart from having a recurrence, I also have metastases in my liver, I feel very well. I don’t know whether it’s the chemo but I’ve had 1 slight cold in the past 3 years and my allergy to rapeseed pollen has disappeared. There is so much to be positive about. I know my cancer will never be cured but I have accepted that and we move forward. I know that I will need further chemotherapy and perhaps some radiotherapy too but as long as it works I’ll still be here.
Well the sun is shining so I may venture out and cut the grass, or perhaps a coffee and a little snooze.
Beautiful your positivity jumps off the screen ... Thanks for sharing
Thank you for sharing. Your story resonates with mine ️
Great you’re so positive and I hope it’s catching.
I only got the incurable but treatable diagnosis very recently, with a life expectancy of 2-3 years. Before that I was expecting a liver resection but they’ve found mets on the peritoneum too, so that’s no longer an option.
I’m about to start my 2nd bout of chemo and hoping it will be as successful as the first.
Hope you get to do that sailing.
Great positive attitude , the mind can work wonders , hope i cope as well , love my music and festivals also
Wow. You made me cry. Not of sadness but of hope. You’re such an inspiration, you made me believe that life goes on.
Thank thank you for sharing
Pete you are an inspiration. I,m sitting here 13 days after a head and neck scan waiting for good or bad news and not knowing whats around the corner. It seems no matter what fate has in store for me I hope to deal with it with your positivety and “ what will be will be “ attitude . Kind Regards and good luck with your first round the world sailing adventure
Stuart aka Oldsid
So Inspiring , life goes on but in a different way, with full on hope for the future for every one.
Thank You Take Care Ellie xx
"You Never Walk A Lone"
Hey, my brother little Pete got his stoma about a month ago and can’t wait to suggest naming it. He too has treatable but not curable outcome but is positive like you. Early days for him but you prove that he is likely to still be as stubborn as he always has, this time for the better.
Been a bit delayed in checking your blog. Known you for nearly fifty years and all I can think of to say is, WOW. You have never ceased to amaze me in many different ways, but WOW.
Truly inspirational. You should give up the spade and take up the pen.....
My husband has been diagnosed with bowl cancer his chemo starts on 13th I am so scared for him for me for the future but reading your blogs has made me feel better there is hope
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