Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Where I am NOW!



PICC Line for taking bloods & Chemotherapy
For those of you who follow my Social Media, you'll realise that I've been raising awareness of my experience of "Bowel Cancer".

From the feedback I've had, the knowledge I've gained since my diagnosis and my subsequent Chemotherapy has inspired others to share their experiences.


"Without the cancer, I wouldn't be where I am now."

It appears that at least half of those diagnosed with cancer cope with the disease, in my case "Bowel Cancer", solely with the help of our own personal community.

Destiny is in My Hands...

Being diagnosed with Bowel Cancer was a shock that hit me hard, but to be honest, it hit my family harder than it hit me. 

I spent many hours reflecting, questioning etc. The main question...


...was it due to me?

Was it because of me...

1: smoking all those years ago?

I'm sure most of you won't link "Bowel Cancer" with "Smoking" but, the toxic cigarette smoke does not only cause lung cancer but many other kinds of tumors as well. 

YES smoking is the most frequent self-imposed cause for cancer, but not the only one.

2: being overweight? research shows a significant increases cancer risk

Obesity is second place of cancer-causing agents. It causes cancer as enhanced insulin levels increase the risk of almost all sorts of cancer, especially when it comes to kidney, gall bladder, and oesophagus cancer. 

Not an issue for me, but overweight women produce increasing amounts of female sex hormones in their fat tissue and hence have a higher risk for uterine or breast cancer.

3: being a couch potato?

I don't think that would be a cause for me as we, My better half and me, are/were quite active, even more so since retirement.

However people who don't move enough are especially likely to get cancer. 
Long-term studies show that exercising prevents tumors. 

After all, working out lowers the insulin levels while preventing you from gaining weight and it doesn’t have to be high-performance sport. Even just going for a walk or a bike ride makes a big difference.

4: drinking too much?

Unlikely, but alcohol promotes tumors in the oral cavity, the throat and the oesophagus. 

The combination of smoking and drinking is especially dangerous and increases the risk of cancer up to a hundredfold. 

Apparently While dinking one glass of wine a day is healthy and supports the cardiovascular system, we shouldn’t drink more than that.

5: eating too much red meat?

Again I don't think so, as we have a very balanced diet.

Red meat can however cause intestinal/bowel cancer, so I may be wrong. 

Looks like the exact cause has not yet been determined, but long-term studies show a significant correlation between the consumption of red meat and intestinal cancer. 

Beef is especially dangerous, but even pork can cause cancer to a minor degree. Meat consumption increases the risk of cancer one and a half times. 

Fish, however, prevents cancer.

6: having lots of BBQs?

Again, I don't think we have that many BBQs.

However when barbecuing meat, carcinogenic substances are released, such as polycyclical aromatic hydrocarbons. 

It's been proven in animal experiments that these chemical compounds can cause tumours. 

However, long-term studies with humans have not yet unambiguously proven the same. 

It’s possible that consuming the meat causes cancer, not the way it is prepared.

7: eating lots of fast foods?

A good diet consisting of vegetables, fruits and dietary fibers can prevent cancer. 

However, when conducting long-term studies researchers found that a healthy diet has less impact on cancer prevention than previously assumed. 

In our case, we seldom have "Fast Foods" and it only decreases the risk of getting cancer by a maximum of 10 percent.

8: getting too much sun?

Yes too much sun is harmful and we've been subjected to more sunshine since visiting California where some of our Dalziel Family have settled down.

The sun’s UV radiation can penetrate genomes and change them. 

While sunscreen protects the skin from sunburn, the skin absorbs too much radiation as soon as it starts getting tanned.

9: getting my "Bowel Cancer", triggered by modern medicine?

Well, unless it was the treatment I had for the "Blood Clot", two and a haf years ago, I doubt it; however X-rays do harm genomes. 

With an ordinary radiogram the exposure is only minor, but it’s a different story for computed tomography, which you should only undergo when necessary. 

Magnetic resonance imaging is harmless but did you know that you’re even exposed to cancer-causing radiation when you’re on an air-plane?

10: triggering the "Bowel Cancer" due infections?

Unlikely again, why?

Hepatitis B and C can cause hepatocytes to degenerate. 

The bacterium helicobacter pylori settles in your stomach and can cause stomach cancer, but not all hope isn't lost as I can get vaccinated against many of these pathogens and antibiotics help fight helicobacter pylori.

Let's face it!

Even if I've done everything right, I'd never completely be immune from getting cancer. 

"At least half of all cancer cases are caused by the wrong genes or simply age."

As you can see on the image of "How many cases can be prevented?"...



...there are several factors possible, which hopefully I've provided more information about earlier. 

The Factors include...
1: Red Meat 
2: Over weight 
3: Unbalanced Diet 
4: Alcohol
5: Smoking
6: Inactivity
7: Infections and
8: Ionising Radiation.

Enough, I feel, of me looking for why I got "Bowel Cancer"

When it comes to coping with the disease, attitudes matter and it appears as if...

"Some people are tormented by heavy feelings of guilt because they believe that the cancer would not have developed if their attitudes to life had been different."

My conclusion
"If I had something to do with the fact that I've got "Bowel Cancer", then I can turn it around." 

I see my diagnosis of "Bowel Cancer" as an opportunity to review my attitude towards my life.

To treat or not to treat? That was a very important question that I had to answer.



Apparently many refuse chemotherapy and radiation, saying they're sure they're going to die anyway and what’s the point of undergoing therapies with drastic side effects?

Personally, I thought...


"I'm prepared to try anything to prolong my life!"

Currently...

1: I've had a "Stoma operation"...



...as there was concern that my large intestine would get blocked by the growing tumour.

2: due to the treatment delay, the "Bowel Cancer" has spread to my Liver (Still "Bowel Cancer" not Liver Cancer),

3: My "Lymph Glands" have been affected by the Bowel Cancer and, as a result I've had a catheter inserted...


...(to ensure the urine is removed) because the swollen "Lymph Gland" prevented urination.

4: after 6 weeks of Chemo treatment, some good news. A scan shows the Tumour has reduced in size, the Liver infection reduced and the "Lymph Gland" aren't as swollen!

I'm continuing to complete the 12 sessions of Chemotherapy and hope the progress is at least as good as the first half of my treatment.



Many of you indicate that you're interested in the "Side-Effects" of the "Bowel Cancer" Chemotherapy.

From what I understand it varies from person to person.

In my case, during the 6 weeks of Chemotherapy...

1: ...the side-effects have increased and lasted longer; Dr O'Hagan decided to give me a weeks break before continuing the Chemotherapy again on 28th February 2019.

This delay was kicked in again on the 14th February 2019 due mainly to the rash on my legs, shortness of breath & tiredness.

My next Chemotherapy is planned for 21st March 2019; everything crossed it goes ahead.

2: other side-effects include...

a) breathlessness when doing initial movements e.g. going upstairs

b) tiredness - increases between Chemo-treatments, starting the Tuesday after Chemo &, over time, has gone from a couple of days up to 10 days after my last Chemotherapy.

c) "Split-ends" on my finger tips & feet...




...(on my feet it's heels mainly). Dr O'Hagan's assistant considered removing part of the Chemotherapy treatment to prevent permanent loss of feelings in finger tips.

Decision yet to be made, in the mean-time, I've used a "spray-plaster"...



...which has helped a lot by protecting the splits and increasing the healing rate.

d) "dry-skin", rashes on lower legs in particular.

Very tender with "lines" that look like scratches, under the skin.

Pliazon cream...


is helping the rashes & Aveeno...



helping with dry skin.

Again,the intensity of rashes/dry-skin has increased as the Chemotherapy progresses.

I've also seen my Local-GP who has given me Fluucloxacillin (Antibiotic) to be taken four times a day an hour before food or on an empty stomach.


"WOW! the almost immediate effect was/is staggering - rash & redness both reduced.


e) "appetite & taste": - initially my appetite wasn't great after Chemotherapy, resulting in weight loss of over 5 stone.

My mouth becomes very sensitive to some foods/drinks that I'd normally eat/drink e.g. spicy curry / other spicy meals; sauces, HP brown in particular but tomato as well;salty foods e.g. crisps; onion chutney and other pickles;

I'm not eating more (adapting to needs), e.g. having 3 meals a day (didn't usually have breakfast) & weight has stabilised, in fact increased slightly.

I'm finding some menus that are more enjoyable and have a taste.

f) Sensitivity:- after Chemotherapy, and for about 24 hrs,  my skin, finger-tips and mouth become exceptionally sensitive; it always feels as if there is a very fine rain when I go outside  and when I have a drink, my mouth feels as if it's filling up with bubbles; not that unpleasant but a very odd feeling.

g) Swollen-ankles:- left leg in particular (the leg the blood-clot started in 2.5 years ago) but, to be fair, after the last Chemotherapy it's the right-leg.

Combined with the leg-rashes , it's made it difficult to put on socks; that is until I purchased some Cosyfeet - https://www.cosyfeet.com/socks - socks that have made things easier.


h) Dry-skin:- using cream to help but elbows, knees & ankles in particular are ve4ry dry, tender & showing, what looks like splits under the surface of my skin.

i) Diarrhoea:- as some of you will already be aware, I've a Stoma...


...as the Bowel-Cancer tumour potentially could have blocked the colon.

A few days after Chemotherapy, diarrhoea kicks in; not a big problem but it can fill the bag very Quickly.



j) Catheter:- just had it "renewed". Due to swollen Lymph-glands, urine was collecting in my bladder but not leaving my body via the usual urination.

A Catheter was fitted (Very painfully) to solve the problem.



It did and, as a result, Chemotherapy could start, which was good news for me.


"During the change of My Catheter concern was expressed that it was too large."


Apparently, in 12 weeks it will be replaced by an appropriate size Catheter tube; the process then, being less painful and more efficient.

I don't think I've missed any Chemotherapy side effects, if I have,...

I'll share with you what the side-effects are!


For now, I'll share symptoms that indicate...
"You could have Bowel Cancer, do not ignore!"

Bowel Cancer...

  1. may begin as polyps in the digestive tract, often beginning as non-cancerous groups of cells. Over time, they become cancerous and can be deadly.
  2.  is the third most common type of cancer.
  3. warning signs to be aware of that may indicate you have Bowel Cancer


1: Constipation or diarrhoea - A change in an individuals typical stool habits or the consistency of the stool is something they should keep an eye out for. 
Constipation or diarrhoea may be the first sign of Bowel Cancer.

2: Bloody - As the polyps tear, blood gets deposited in an individuals stool, so if you see bloody stool, contact your doctor. 

3: Pencil stool - very thin, or "pencil stools," are another sign of something being wrong.

4: Cramps - If you suffer from cramps, gas or bloating that just won't go away, these could be signs of Bowel Cancer.

5: Fatigue - as is true with most forms of cancer, unexplained fatigue might be a warning sign

6: Weight loss - If individuals have a sudden weight loss that isn't from dieting and exercise, it's recommended they get checked out.

7: Full bowel - many people suffering from Bowel Cancer complain of feeling like they need to have a bowel movement, but can't. 

Some may have a movement, but even after that, they still feel like they need to do more.

8: Anemia - blood diverted to build Bowel Cancerous cells, result in having symptoms of anaemia without any explanation. Another warning sign.

9: Pelvic pain - when people reach a advanced stages of Bowel Cancer, they often complain of pelvic pain.

WHAT NEXT?

If things go to plan, on Wednesday (tomorrow) 20th March 2019, I'll be have my bloods done...

Followed, all being OK, by Chemotherapy on Thursday 21st March 2019.



Hopefully I've achieved the aim of this new blog "Yes! I've got Bowel Cancer and..." and I've raised your awareness of what individuals may experience if, like me, they get "Bowel Cancer"

"Please feel free to provide feedback on my post."

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, I'll do my best to provide honest answers.


Thank you!

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