Sometimes I assume everyone knows the cancer lingo. “Cancerversary”, if you havent heard of it, is the day you were diagnosed, or the day you were given the a clear….. you can use it as you wish.
Last week sometime it was my cancerversary…. the day I was told my cancer was a stage 4. My stage 4 cancerversary. I know full well when the day is but my cancer doesn’t get a special day, doesnt get a spot in my diary or in my calendar. I choose to ignore the day. The day, frankly my life was ruined even further.
Some folk say thanks to cancer, for the lessons it has taught them in life, some people are grateful to cancer, for making them the person they are because of it. Ask someone with stage 4. They will have a lot of words for cancer….. ‘thanks’ won’t be one of them!
I knew who I was before cancer, I was quite happy with my life and everything I had and where I was going. I truly did not need stupid cancer to show me or guide me along the path of life.
So about this time last year, I was taken in for a liver resection. My team were to remove 50% of my liver, removing the lesion from my bile duct and then stitching everything back together. This was my only chance of curing my cancer at this stage. It was to be about a 9 hour operation followed by up to 3 months recovery. I was petrified. I didn’t want to be in that much pain for that long.
I remember the day clearly, I had tubes and needles everywhere. I was made ready for the biggest operation of my life and everything in place should any emergencies arise. It wasn’t pleasant at all. I’d asked that my surgeon and team explain the least details about the procedure to me as possible. Just put me under, I told them, followed by please remove as much as you can before bringing me around afterwards.
It was quite traumatic and my team took my comments on board and did as I had requested. I went down, Gurveer left and the next thing I knew was that I was being brought back around and very groggy. I remember feeling extremely cold. There was a nurse with a massive tube, blowing hot air trying to warm up my body. It was ever so nice!!! I was in pain and had been given an epidural and top ups of morphine.
Every minute of that day is imprinted on my brain if I choose to recall it, which mostly I don’t bother with. I remember being taken up to the ward. I was in and out constantly and then my surgeon and another doctor arrived at my bed. I was alone and they looked extremely worried.
After asking how I was, my surgeon without beating around the bush told me that he hadn’t done the liver resection. I was really really confused! He explained that he had gone in with a camera to check and had seen specs on my stomach lining and a spot on my liver. He explained that he removed what he had seen on my liver and it was sent for urgent testing while I was in theatre. The biopsy showed positive for cancer. My cancer had spread and I needed to have chemo. They said they were really sorry and they left. I was now stage 4.
I remember just staring at the curtain for 2 minutes, trying to process under all the heavy medication I was on. I picked up my phone and rang Gurveer and told him what I had just been told.
My only chance of a cure had just been blown up into smitherines. Gurveer was just as shocked as I was. He asked me if I wanted him to come over straight away. I said no. It was school pick up time. I said, sort out the kids and come after as I was in a lot of pain and very drowsy. Never the less, Gurveer was by my side within half an hour!
I don’t remember much of what we spoke about that evening but I remember the kids came to see me the next day and that cheered me up immensly. I went home the next day, I was in dire pain but my team were keen to get me home and back on my feet!
My sisters will remember that week as they came to see me at home and we all just lay in Suraj’s bed!! I barely left that bed for that week. I could barely move. Gurveer literally had to move me if I needed to get up and the kid’s fetched and carried for me.
I hated the kids seeing mum in this state. It was a lot for them to see and deal with but I am confident now, a year later that they will not remember unless we jogged their memory.
So, that was my stupid cancerversary….. it was last week sometime but I choose not to mark the day. What I do mark though is that a year on, I’d say I was doing ok, all things considered.
I organised and took part in a 12 hr relay, I have raised awareness for the AMMF charity and Bile Duct cancer. I have connected with so many people along the way. We have had special days out when we can and exploring the world as much as we are able and I am living my best life !!!
I don’t think cancer has made me do this, anyone who has known me for more than 6 years, knows who I was and what I was capable of before stupid cancer came along. I was and always will be Sal first before everthing else.
I am back on my daily chemo tabs now and on cycle 2 of my weekly herceptin infusions. Not bouncing out of bed like I was last week and a little more tired but seem to be ok. Im not too impressed as I don’t wanna be any more tired or feel any more unwell. I did however find the strength to go out for dinner today with my girlfriends!!! Didn’t eat very much but I didn’t cancel either!!! Go me!!!
Its been the toughest 2 years of my life but you just get on with it as there really isn’t much of a choice!