I received many many messages following my last blog entry , after the sad death of Hannah. I really do appreciate the fact that people take time to comment and send me messages – thank you ! I have to confess though that I feel a bit of a fraud. It’s easy to write good things about good people. The praise was all due to Hannah, not me. I am sure I was only echoing the thoughts of the many people who had been fortunate enough to have come into contact with her. I just happened to put my thoughts down ‘on paper’. Sadly it wasn’t just Hannah who succumbed to the deadly disease. I’ve since learned of another three who have lost their lives in recent weeks. I am sure there were many more of whom I was not aware, but however many, there are far too many. More friends and families grieving for loved one’s taken away by such a savage disease, and all in their early thirties. Never has a campaign slogan been more appropriate .Never Too Young is a campaign by Bowel Cancer UK, and aims to ensure, among other things, that young people are diagnosed quickly and receive treatment to reverse the statistic showing that bowel cancer in young patients has increased by a quarter in a decade. And don’t forget, bowel cancer is almost 100% curable if diagnosed in it’s early stages. Information about the campaign can be found by clicking on the logo. We rely on the support and encouragement of sites like Bowel Cancer UK to enable us to survive, and to change the perception and understanding of the disease. If you are able to support them in any way, you will be helping future generations survive this awful disease.
You may conclude that April was a pretty black month, but if there was one sign of encouragement it was the fact that there was a record number of hits, over five and a half thousand, on my blog during the month. Even if a small proportion of those will now be more aware of bowel cancer than they were before, then something has been achieved. The figure is astonishing, I could never have imagined that little old me could have such an impact.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my own grief is merely another reality check, as selfish as that may sound. As I reach the end of my current treatment plan, with the completion of surgery planned at the time of diagnosis there is a fear that lurking somewhere in my body are a few, or even just one rouge cell waiting to mutate and spread it’s destruction. I always thought there would be a sense of relief when I reached this stage, in fact it turns out to be the opposite. I am more anxious now than I have been at any time during my treatment. In a few weeks I’ll be undergoing yet another CT scan, searching for those signs of irregular cell growth. Of course I’m hoping for the ‘all clear’. After all it’s only a few months since my last scan, and the procedure will be repeated again and again over the next five years. I hope the anxiety diminishes as time goes on. Somehow I think not. I’m pleased to say that the pain following my lung operation is , at last, receding. I still have the feeling that my ribs have been broken and my shoulder blade is not where it should be, but believe me, that’s an improvement. The downside is that the lack of pain allows me to think I can revert to a normal life, only to find that I don’t have the energy to do more than the most basic of tasks.
And so thoughts turn to Glastonbury, just 43 days away. I’ve already done my first ‘ticket tracker’ check, it will be the first of many over the coming weeks. It starts to get worrying when other people are receiving theirs….’where’s mine? ‘ My body is telling me it’s a one bag festival this year, although that’s easier said than done. No barbecue, no food, silly gadgets, spare this, spare that. The wellies will remain in the car until they become essential. Of course I reserve the right to change my plans should my strength return in the next few weeks. I’ll miss that barbecue, and it will save me having to walk across the site to find food. Food is energy, and I’ll certainly need energy. I’m hoping that the healing spirit of Avalon descends on me again as it did two years ago. Then I was struggling with the symptoms of bowel cancer, not knowing that I was already at the advanced stage of the disease. There was a time when I doubted I would be able to endure the six days of music and entertainment. Miraculously the symptoms disappeared for the duration of the festival, and I’m hoping the same healing force will be present. One thing I will be taking with me this year is the selection of drugs to keep me out of pain and control symptoms of side effects from treatment I have had. Oh yes, and the fifteen or so scars on my body, a reminder of the surgery and procedures I have undergone in the last 12 months.