17 July 2020 – My diagnosis and tests

At A&E, I was seen and sent to a surgeons ward, where I begged not to be admitted (hospitals scare me) and for some pain relief. After some Oramorph I managed to chill out a little, although I still had severe pain. The surgeons examined my abdomen and they said that I likely had adhesions, a twisted bowel or a blockage. I was therefore being recommended for a colonoscopy and released to go home that night – the appointment for the colonoscopy came through quickly which was brilliant.

What can I say about a colonoscopy – the drink to empty your bowels is by far the worst bit. I was drinking water to take the taste away and daring myself to drink 100ml (about two gulps) every 5 minutes. I find it hilarious that the procedure was being used as teacher training. So when I arrived in the operating theatre with my backless gown (unfortunately NHS do not provide couture), I turned my back on the students and they had a nice peep at my gloryhole. Lucky them!

I remember looking at the nurse who held my hand (you are awake during the procedure and only given a light sedative), and she was chatting away. As always, I found a topic that interested me – her dogs (to be warned dogs are a common distraction theme in this blog), so I quickly forgot about the 20 or so students stood behind me looking at the TV showing my digestive tract. When I did take a look, it was because they reached a ‘U-bend’ in my intestines and I needed some gas and air to help with the pain. What I saw on the screen was a nice healthy looking pink/ peachy flesh of the intestinal wall, until they turned a corner and a mass of blood red gristle was shown to almost entirely block the cameras path.

I remember the surgeon saying ‘that’s cancer’, he introduced himself to me and said he would take over to end the procedure and talk to me after. Having to tell your parents you have cancer should have been hard, but I was in shock and still under light sedation so blurted it out to my mum. I genuinely cannot fathom how hard it must have been for mum to hear that from me, especially as we have lost my brother ten years before.

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