New member's experience

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Hi everyone. My name is Steve and I’m 69 years old and thought I’d share my experience of cancer diagnosis and treatment in the hope someone would find it helpful.

In December 2023 I had a rectal bleed and was quickly seen by my GP who arranged a colonoscopy. As a result, a suspicious, large polyp was found in my upper colon. A biopsy showed no sign of cancer but it was felt the best course of action was resection (removal) of the part of the colon containing the polyp.

I suffer with Panic Disorder and this news sent my anxiety levels through the roof, so much so that I didn’t know how I was going to go through with the treatment. I was a mess!

Fortunately, I had amazing support from my Macmillan support worker who was always there at the end of the phone with advice and encouragement.

An appointment was made at the hospital for another colonoscopy to remove several minor polyps. That was a 40 minute journey from home and I was experiencing extreme anxiety. However, the treatment at the hospital was caring and understanding from all the staff, so much so that I almost fell asleep during the colonoscopy! I think the gas and air did help though. Result was the removal of 29 polyps, 3 of which proved later to be cancerous.

Then came the big operation – partial removal of the colon. Again, extreme anxiety, but due to the world class nursing care and superb communications from the surgery team, the operation went ahead without any undue fears on my part. I had to stay in a couple of days longer than expected because of a bit of a leak at the surgery site, but that cleared up and I made it home on Christmas Day.

One tip – if you’re taking morphine (I had it for trapped wind after the op), don’t order the fish for dinner! The morphine changed my taste sensation and it tasted absolutely disgusting!

Now I’m into my second cycle of Capox. 4 cycles of: infusion, 2 weeks of Capecitabine and 1 week off. Side effects have been pretty light and manageable: occasional nausea (but no vomiting) which is controlled by tablets, finger ends tingling when cold (wear gloves if touching cold items), the inevitable tiredness on occasion (have a rest), a slightly hoarse voice and occasional hot sweats (open a window, put a fan on). The most troublesome side effect has been stomach bloating. It feels like someone has pumped you full of air. However, I might have a handle on that now after doing a Google search on what foods can cause bloating while on Capecitabine. I’m changing my diet from today, so we’ll see how we go.

So that is my story so far. For anyone who is anxious about starting treatment (and no-one could be more anxious than I was) I hope you can be assured that you will have the most amazing support which you should use if ever you need help or questions answered. From Macmillan to the surgery team to the nursing staff, for me they have all been world class and I thank every one of them.

Love to all going through this.

Steve.

  • P.S. Forgot to add that I also have the "first bite" jaw pain which can be tolerated by taking a very small bite of food first every time you eat.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. 

    I've had a bowel resection and undergone 4 rounds of CAPOX. I’m currently awaiting a colonoscopy. 

    Hope the rest of your treatment goes well.

    Rachael

  • Thank you Rachael.

  • Hi  

    So great to hear how well you have been treated and been supported .

    Just an observation. People who suffer from anxiety assume  they won’t cope but that is often not what I observe . They are frequently incredibly capable and used to managing a very difficult illness over the long term already. I see them with the right support doing a fine job getting through this . 
    Well done you . Not only have you managed two different illnesses that impact each other you seem to engaged the staff into the bargain and got the best out of the service . That is quite an accomplishment.

    I wish you every success going forward . You sound lovely .

    Court 

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