I’m struggling to know what to say, but feel under pressure to update this due to the many messages I’ve received asking how I am. I don’t really feel in the mood for writing, but not doing so only seems to cause concern to others. I don’t want to drag it out, but both medically and emotionally I’m having a bad time. I’ve been ill since Christmas and it’s getting me down. Nothing serious, just not coping with what this awful disease has done to my body. Emotionally, I seem to have reached an inevitability that has been much harder to deal with than I could ever have imagined. On top of that I heard the news of the passing of a very dear internet friend. Don’t laugh, it’s possible to have close internet friends. It’s no different than the old ‘pen pals’. I’m not alone in grieving for Hazel, a fellow stage 4 bowel cancer victim, she was a marvellous support to many hundreds of others.
Hazel and I had two things in common. Bowel cancer and our love for Glastonbury. We were in regular contact, but by no means daily. Not even weekly at times but always kept in contact, and if we didn’t one or other of us would be asking ‘why?What’s wrong?’. Hazel had been coping with the disease for many years, she was far more poorly than anyone really knew, something she hid so admirably to protect her three beloved young sons. I knew that things were not going well for her, but with Christmas and things , I hadn’t really kept up to date as I would have wanted to. Yesterday, without any reason, I asked a mutual friend if she had any news of Hazel. The news wasn’t good, but if there was anyone who could deal with it, it was Hazel. In the early hours of this morning I heard the awful news of Hazels passing away just a few hours earlier. If you could see the amount of tributes that have been posted on the internet today you would understand the high regard Hazel was held. She touched so many, and the speed of her passing is so shocking that it has left so many of us speechless. She leaves a huge gap in so many lives, and an even greater legacy. My own words were that if my children were half as proud of me as her boys would be of her, then I would leave this life a happy man. But I haven’t seen a better tribute than this one…
“RIP beautiful Hazel, the lady with the widest smile, a wicked sense of humour and massive social conscience. But most of all incredible caring mum to 3 boys. So terribly sad to loose yet another to this awful bowel cancer and so soon. Feel so shocked and sad.”
It seems almost impertinent to add anything more today, but it is a blog after all,and I don’t see my mood improving in the coming days, so here’s a brief update.
For a number of weeks, probably since, and as a result of my recent surgery, I’ve been having terrible problems managing my stoma. I’ve been having blockages and the pain that goes with it, followed by explosive episodes of diarrhoea. I’m sorry, there’s no other way of putting it. I’ve been going (or not going) from one extreme to the other resulting in some difficult situations on many occasions. It’s not helped by the amount of medication I’m on, and dropping this pill or taking that pill is adding to the complications. I’ve been on high dose steroids for a month in an attempt to give my immune system a boost which has left me unable to sleep for anything more than an hour at a time. I’m sitting here shaking which is probably as a result of that.
I saw my liver surgeon just prior to Christmas, he seems happy with his work. My liver is functioning well, although obviously I’m still very tender around my abdomen.
“You had me worried for a few days there”.
Those were his words in relation to my stay in intensive care. Well Mr. L, I was a little worried myself. I saw Dr. S, oncologist, last week. I’ve a CT scan lined up in a couple of weeks and once we get the results from that we’ll decide on what pathway is next.
I’ve spoken to each of my children in the last few hours which has lightened my mood a little. It really does make the world of difference to me. Lew and his girlfriend Kirsty are coming up in a few weeks which at least gives me something to look forward to. Other than that I’m sorry if I sound a little depressed. I am ! Events over the last few weeks have hit me hard, and the last 24 hours even harder. Sometimes you think you are coping, and then something happens to make you realise you are not. Despite all the progress that is being made in the treatment of cancer, don’t ever let it convince you that the effects of it don’t continue to be devastating. It’s times like this when Hazel would come into her own with her wisdom and advice. Missing you already !
In the end, writing this has, to some extent, helped me put things in perspective. I’m hoping my next entry will be a little bit more uplifting.