Living a life
by Kathleen


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 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 me 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 music to my ears in some form. 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 to wait till I am 22, 23 or even 24 as it could be too late.

I know it’s the right time as it takes only one of polyp to turn cancerous before it would be too late, so surgery is the only answer to stop it. But I can't help but feel like no 18 year old should be faced with this.

I had been considering getting the surgery since my last colonoscopy in 2014 but the thing that terrified me most was the idea of needing a stoma bag, even if it was to only be temporary. The thought of my life changing to that extent worried me. However, for me, at one of my consultations I was told that I wouldn't need one, not even a temporary one as Dunlop was going to do the surgery all in one stage. To which I am thankful and very lucky for as I know many people that go through this end up with one as it isn’t as common for it to be able to do it all in one stage. 

I left the appointment on Friday 26th February 2016 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 after my university exams, in the summer - five months from now when I write this (March '16).

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 about as far as these rare fibrous tumours are concerned. Desmoid tumours have the tendency for recurrence even after removal, so it makes further treatment of these relatively rare fibrous tumours challenging. It is another weight off my chest 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 to go through another colonoscopy. I feel like it's time to just get it done and out of the way. I am also…not scared, but nervous about after the surgery for when I wake up. 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 tubes, blood pressure thing, 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 this 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. Though I will be in the hospital for about a week and with a recovery time of anywhere from three months, in the end it was going to allow me to live the life I was supposed to live. Without the surgery, polyps would turn cancerous and spread to other parts of my body such as the stomach and in the end I would be lucky to make it to 30.

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. I have no idea what to expect, what pain I might feel or what it will be like to be stuck in a bed all day and all night. But what I do know is that I am ready to face this now and I know that come September when I go back to university, I will be in a much better place, living the life God planned for me.

(This post was mostly written in March, prior surgery)

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