I didn’t expect this. The year before had been horrendous, family deaths, Hubby’s hip replacement failing, medical misadventure they said, and his many hospital trips. I remember thinking on New year’s eve, next year can only get better. Wow was I wrong.

I knew the frequency of my bowel motions had increased, slowly, over time.
I was going for my checkup and Hubby said ask about this. The doctor did the finger trick, said it is probably a virus, but to be sure I should have a colongraphy.

I had this 11am the following Thursday. Meanwhile I had looked up my symptoms on the internet and decided I had irritable bowel syndrome. 3pm, the doctor rings me at work, come in now !

I just knew then, CANCER !

Hubby and I went straight there, to be told – probably cancer, and probably curable.
My only symptom was looser, and more frequent bowel looser motions, no blood, pain, loss of weight, nothing.

Telling my daughters was the hardest. I was their Mother, I was supposed to be there for them, not me leaning on them. One was expecting her first child, I should be supporting her, not the other way round. However they shone in their strength and support.

After the tears, the why me, the death thoughts, I decided to beat this, my first grandchild was due soon, he needed a Nana. The worst thing is the fear of the unknown, the loss of control of your body, your life is suddenly in the hands of complete strangers!

I have the various tests, then 6 weeks later the operation. I was positive it would be a success, I just wanted this cancer gone. I was asked to attend the birth of my first grandchild 7 weeks later. I so wanted to be there, I just had to be well.

I was told I would probably not need one, but I woke with an ileostomy stoma & bag.
I had not checked out stomas. I did not expect this but after days of hating it, I realised that I was ALIVE, and if this helped save my life, so be. The stoma was removed by an operation 18 months later, such a short time really.

My hubby was a tower of strength, my rock, throughout. I discovered the best way for me to cope with the uncertain, the tests, the wait etc was to not think about them. Even in the waiting rooms, I refused to think about it.

There are positives, brought a caravan, entered real estate, something I now had the courage to do.

Having cancer does this, gives you the push, the oomph to get on and do things.
People asked – how do you cope with cancer – but what choice do you have? None, you have it, so be positive, and get on with life.

Don’t get me wrong, there were many bad days, and I’m still having problems, but I’m here, and alive.