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  • Writer's pictureAustin Birks

Cancer: The Next Part of The Journey

So, today my dear chums, after a long absence for which I ask your forgiveness, I feel ready to blog again after my most recent adventure with chemo since my operation in March. It has been a strange journey. Truly, it has been an extraordinary experience, if the truth be told and in fairness, I have been very fortunate in so many ways.

My experience has been challenging and if honest, I have kept it to myself. The truth is that before my operation that was scheduled for the 24th of March, I had been in serious trouble.

The facts were that when I got re-diagnosed and was waiting for the operation, my cancer got worse and the rectal stump was getting significantly more infected. From February, it got progressively worse. Indeed, I got to a point that I simply could not leave the flat anymore.The reason being that I was needing to use the loo on average every 15 to 20 minutes, I don’t often get graphic on these blogs but I will be direct.

When you have bowel cancer there are certain things that happen to you. Most of the time it is all ok. You work around issues. But on occasions it can rear some whole new problems so I discovered. The back passage was basically bleeding and shedding mucus as a result of the rapid spread of the rectal cancer. It was frankly awful. In fact, I kept a record of how often this happened. It was 24 hours a day, so I decided to keep a record, so every time that I went to the loo, I would write down the time and the date. This was interesting and it was also revealing. Three days were probably the worst, I actually was going to the loo between 50 and 60 times.

This was why I ended up in casualty on 3 occasions. The doctors said basically you're having surgery very soon, that will sort this out. But at the same time, I was not sleeping as of course, after 15 to 20 minutes every 24 hours I was waking up and going to the loo. Which was what I did. It was frankly ghastly.

Now I knew that my blog journey to date a has been all about the positivity and I am utterly committed to that. But, if I am honest sometimes I need to share the whole journey as it is vital that this is an honest reflection of all that I have been through. But, and this is the point, I went through 2 months of this before my operation. It was tough both mentally and physically, but it was ok because I knew that I would beat this and overcome it. And so far, my dear friends, I have beaten it and indeed I have grown and I have flourished and to this remarkable day that is exactly what I have done.

And that is great and so on this day, I ended a 6-month journey, from my surgery and a 5-and-a-half hour operation that seemed to succeed, although you never know. Followed by the day 2 weeks from when I had 46 metal stitches removed from my chest from sternum down to the pubic bone was the same day that Yvi contracted COVID-19. Amazing that I never got it myself she self-isolated in her flat and for 2 weeks we were separated. It was surreal if the truth be told.

But being of tough stock, she beat it and after 2 weeks was back. We then decided to realise that life had changed and we had a choice. Either go down the Netflix, ice cream and slob life, or do good things while in lockdown and that is what we have done. The results have been amazing. I’m fitter at 60 than I was at 30. We planned and instigated a complete overhaul of our garden. From an absolute mess to a really nice, funky Japanese garden. In addition, a newly-found love of good cooking has transformed my life, and I have loved it! It has had a major effect on my cancer treatment that I have embraced it.

So, now I’m in a great place I have completed my 8 treatments of what is my third chemotherapy sessions, and I’m fitter, and super positive about the future. However, I’m also a realist and cancer is unforgiving, as I already know, so I will wait until I have a CT scan in possibly September, some 6 months after my initial operation and I will keep you informed, my dear chums.

But for me right now, I’m in a great place even though its very late at night, that’s ok. My steroid treatment, which is 2 pills to be taken at 10am and 2pm every day for 4 days, then 1 day off before 5 days of daily stomach injections, popped into the abdomen and again my last treatments. If you think that sounds bad, when I came out of hospital, I had to inject every day for 31 days. But guess what, you soon get used to it and it becomes routine.

So, apologies for such a long blog, I had some catching up to do, bear with me I’m back in circulation and very keen to share the journey some 2 years and 8 months post cancer arrival. Keep the faith, my dear chums I will I promise keep you posted.

Thank you for following and supporting. It means the world.

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