Living a life
by Kathleen


*The following post was mostly written prior surgery, in the month of March*

As if the last few years haven't been stressful enough, it was about to only get worse.
Having gone through two colonoscopies and a sigmoidoscopy, I thought that that they would be only the first of many more. During my appointment with Professor Dunlop on February 26th 2016, I was told that they're are now over 100 polyps and that he seen no point of going for a colonoscopy this year - it was beyond that. 

Though I still found it a shock, I was prepared for what he next had to say. Deep down I was ready for it. I knew that I wouldn't be able to go through the prep of another colonoscopy so I guess this was a form of music to my ears. That being surgery. Though some people that have this condition can hold off till their early 20s, I was told that it would be risky for me and by the time I reach 22, 23 or even 24 it could be too late for me.

Though I know it’s the right time, no 18 year old should be faced with this. Surgery is the only answer to cure and remove these polyps as it takes only one of these polyps to turn cancerous before it would be too late.

I had been considering getting the surgery since my last colonoscopy in 2014 but the only thing that terrified me was the idea of needing a colostomy bag, even if it was to be a temporary one. I even turned around to my mum and said I’d rather live as long as I can without surgery if it meant that I wouldn't have to have a colostomy bag. I know that sounds terrible of me as they're worst things in life, but for me that was going to be a life I wasn't really prepared to live. Luckily for me however, I was told that I wouldn't need one, not even a temporary one which I am thankful and very grateful for as I know many people that go through this end up with one. 

I left the appointment on Friday 26th February '16 having been told I was needing to go for a scan to check for desmoid tumours to be safe and that I was going to be booked in for colorectal surgery just after my university exams, so in May. Two months from now (from when I write this).

I went for my scan a couple of weeks after and the results came back all clear, which was almost guaranteed as my mum had none (they are usually passed down), but nothing with this condition is ever really guaranteed. This meant that there was nothing to worry as far as these rare fibrous tumours are concerned as desmoid tumours have the tendency for recurrence even after treatment, so it makes further treatment of these relatively rare fibrous tumours challenging. I am lucky in this sense to not have any.

Part of me is excited (maybe a bit of exaggeration there) to get my colon removed so I don’t have to worry about colon cancer, or having the thought of ever having to go for a colonoscopy, and just getting it done and out of the way. I am also…not scared, but nervous about after the surgery for when I wake up. Like I have explained in part 1 of my F.A.P story, I have an irrational fear of needles and having my mum go through this operation she is able to give me an idea of what to expect from a first hand point of view. IV drip, patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump, catheter, nasogastric intubation tube, oxygen tube, and that clippy peg thing that goes on your index finger - the lot. Oh and not to mention the stitched up incision under my bellybutton. I’m going to stop there though because all this though is not doing me any good right now. Yet, it’s constantly sitting at the back of my mind and sometimes I need to look at the positive and realise, this surgery is going to save my life essentially. Though I will be in the hospital for about 10 days and with a recovery time of three months, in the end it was going to allow me to live a normal, long life unlike if I wasn't to have the surgery. Otherwise, polyps would turn cancerous and in the end I would be lucky to make it to 30 probably after a number of years in pain.

Though no matter how much I mentally prepare myself, I’m not going to be ready when the time comes. I can bet you each £100 I will get upset and worried when I’m admitted and I most certainly can’t prepare myself for the aftermath. I know what tubes to expect but that’s about it, and even still it will differ from what my mum had. But what I do know is that I am ready to face this now and I know that come August when I go back to uni, I will feel better within myself and not have the thought of needing surgery hanging over me.

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