the magic school bus in my rectum has found an answer!
somehow, for some weird reason, i have a small (3-4 cm) carcinoma of some variety in my upper rectum. colon; its fine. it seems to be the type older people tend to get – not particularly aggressive or symptomatic, and probably been there for a long time, as the liver tumours would suggest – which have also been there for a long time due to the size of the lesions. so, the IBS isn’t even related to the cancer, because it’s not even in my bowel.
my GI doctor said from the start she was devastated for me – that the liver lesions made no sense. in 40 years as a practicing GI specialist, she has never seen anything like them – the fact they are secondary cancer is baffling. it is so much better for me to have a primary in the bowel/rectum – especially a small, non-fast-moving one, from all the evidence so far.
of course, as i have learned in this process, nothing is set in stone. i might hear back tomorrow that it’s all wrong – that in fact the biopsy shows something entirely different. this is not likely, and i am going to work very hard to not focus on this as an outcome. what i am focussing on is that all my darkest fears about this — that it was my WHOLE bowel, that it would be huge and unmanageable, terminal and desperate, does not, at all, seem to be the case.
so, the doctor came, post colonoscopy, to tell me i had bowel cancer, i asked her – ‘did you find it’, and she said, ‘yes, we did’, and i grinned at her, and thanked her. each nurse came by, gentle, saying ‘had Dr … spoken to you yet?’ to which i would happily respond ‘yes!!! they found the primary cancer! i had secondaries and they found the primary!’ they were both confused, and happy for me.
it is funny what becomes good news in this situation. a week ago, i cannot imagine this being good news. a month ago, i cannot imagine even being able to deal with this. and again, as i’ve said before, a month ago, nothing in my body was different. a year ago, nothing different (maybe a bit smaller? god, i dunno). we keep going back, for a long time, and the cancer is still there, in one shape or another. going to happen, going to… do whatever the darn stuff does.
so, along with my normal motto of CHECK YOUR FUCKING POOPS, we’ve got to remember that being totally healthy according to your blood tests, and having no liver function impairment, and yet having a metastatic cancer – is Really Really Rare. i’m a strange, crazy freak here.
SO! all this time i have been convinced of cancer! all along, i’ve had it! so, i might be a hypochondriac but that didn’t mean i wasn’t RIGHT! despite the lack of any evidence. my imaginary cancers all had no resemblance to my actual, realised cancer. i was, to be honest, just being… well… Hyper Aware. like the time i wanted my tumour markers tested for ovarian cancer, which interestingly would have been off the charts from the, you know, real ones. or the time i thought i had thyroid cancer. or that time i was SURE i had a brain tumour (ok, that time is about once a week, or two weeks after an MRI, which i’ve had a few of due to my weird temporal lobe, which is another story). i am Always sure i have skin cancer (yearly checks), and cervical cancer, and breast cancer (yearly manual checks, will pay for ultrasounds, tempted to get the gene test Just In Case). lung cancer has been the most frequent one, but we now know… it’s NOT in my lungs! it’s just my insane liver of inexplicability pushing on my poor right lung. it’s ok! it’s tumour free! for a good six months i’ll feel confident of that. another silver lining is that, from now on, EVERYONE will take my weird neurosis about Having Cancer seriously. cause, you know, i do. scanny mcscan scan.
WARNING! details about colonoscopy prep below. have left space so you can click out now without seeing too much.
the colonoscopy prep by the way, was fucking revolting. not the prep itself – the drinking was ick, but doable, and one of them tasted delicious, like an apple warhead lolly. the actual process ended up kinda just… a thing. it’s painless (no painful cramps), and ends up pretty much just like weeing from your bum. only, in my case, with blood. it terrified me – i had to call my poor GP on a monday public holiday night, freaking out that i was dying. turns out, it was the tumour having a little tantrum about it all. the grossest things were a. the blood. no one needs that. i’m not even oversharing anymore about it because it was horrific and 2. the swelling of your hands, the dehydration, the constant jelly and poweraide, the roaring hunger, and the dizziness from fluid gain and loss. i mean, that was the first of many for me, and i’m ok about that, because this one likely has, if not saved my life, made my life a lot easier. but yeah. it was gross.
the colonoscopy itself was, as any sleepy-time test is, a stroll in the park. sleepy drugs go in, BIG SLEEP happens, wake-up! also, i love that every doctor is fine with me taking sedatives. in fact, encouraging me to do it. weird. YOU NEED TO SLEEP! ok. cool. i can do that.