Beating bowel cancer together

Andy Sutton, 59 from Cannock, Staffs

Last summer in June 2017, I passed the ninth anniversary of my second bowel cancer surgery.

In August I noticed blood in my urine. The following day my doctor took a blood sample that ruled out a urine infection. Fast track followed to see an urologist and by September various procedures showed cancer in my right kidney.

The options for types of treatment were then complicated by my previous history of bowel cancer. CT scans also showed irregularities in my right pelvis. A full body bone scan and two biopsies were needed to not only confirm further cancer but also the source. Had it originated in my bowel or kidney? Different approaches applied to the answer. It seemed strange that my position was still being dictated by the previous form of cancer.

It took from October 2017 to February 2018 to establish it was bone cancer that had originated in and travelled from my kidney. As a result I was referred to an oncologist who arranged a course of radiotherapy followed by a programme for chemotherapy.

I underwent the first cycle of chemo at the end of February and it seemed to go well. Then the ghost of bowel cancer past paid another unwelcome visit.

I began to suffer severe stomach pains and was admitted to hospital on 5 March with a high temperature of 39 degrees. Scans showed that the chemo had a severe reaction with the scar tissue from my earlier bowel cancer surgery, resulting in swelling and colitis, accompanied by an infection.

My white blood cell count had gone through the floor leaving me barely able to move. Surgery was deemed as not possible so I was placed on a regime of saline drips, sips of water and intravenous antibiotics.

It was then a waiting game to flush through my bowel and reduce the swelling. This part of the process took eight days.

A TPN line was then fitted into a vein in my arm and liquid food was introduced directly into my blood stream. This proved effective progressing to the return to oral food on 21 March. Hopefully I will be out of hospital soon.

These side effects have deemed further chemotherapy as unlikely, so thanks again bowel cancer, cheers old pest. Fortunately, my current cancers are only slowly progressing so far. As they accelerate it might be possible for immunotherapy to be considered as an alternative form of treatment.

The reason for me writing this is to highlight the less obvious effects of bowel cancer and add further weight to the need for increased awareness and funding to beat not only bowel cancer but cancer as a whole.

Many thanks for your attention. As for me I will continue to do what I always do, DIG DEEP AND KICK ON.

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