I had the sigmoidoscopy that I was waiting for. On the plus side no cancer was found in my bowel. Great news! On the minus side there was some inflammation that the report described as “mild Radiation Proctitis” or, in other words, radiation burns. I agree, it is mild now, but it bloody well wasn’t for 4 days at the beginning of June when I was screaming with the pain. The worrying thing is that it could flare up again, which is not such great news.
Once I’d had the sigmoidoscopy things started moving much faster on the chemo front than I’d expected. I’ve already had a voicemail asking me to call so that the process can start. There are blood tests to have and things to be explained to me before I get the first dose. That’s good because I wouldn’t want to have to wait long, but the impending move to the next stage of treatment has caused lots of conflicting feelings to come to the surface. While I really appreciate the care I’m getting I also feel trapped by events in that I have no control over them but, even more than that, I feel like I have no control over my life anymore. It’s like being a kid again where I can’t just get up and go, I can’t just do anything, the bloody cancer controls everything I do and everything I want to do.
As a result I’m feeling very wound up at the moment and feeling down as well. How can both at the same time be possible? I thought I felt unsettled and emotional before but those feelings are now much more pronounced. I can’t keep my mind on anything, I’m absent minded and I’m all over the place and, once again, my healthy appearance belies the way I’m feeling inside. Thanks to everyone who says “you’re looking well“, I know you mean well, but I don’t bloody feel it. I bet anyone who’s ever had any sort of life changing illness would understand, just as anyone who hasn’t might think I’m fussing over nothing. Until it happens to you you can never really understand. I didn’t. Where I find myself must be a bit like being in prison (not that I ever have been in prison I hasten to add) in that I feel trapped and I want to escape from all that’s going on. I want my life back. I want my independence back. The first thing I’d do, if I could, is book flights to where we were a month ago with friends (was it really only a month ago?) where it’s hot, dry, sunny (and not raining all the time) and the cancer was somewhere in the background and not laying down the law, but I can’t because now the bloody cancer is back in charge.
It’s taken me a while to see what my priority must be and it’s not a holiday. Me and my partner have talked things through and he, like me, would prefer to be able to fly off into the sunset, but he’s gently pointed out why we really ought not to. He lives all this with me 24/7 and understands more than anyone, so I tend to listen (eventually). I also spoke to my Macmillan nurse; we know each other well after 2½ years and she’s got a pretty good grasp of how to handle me. I also called the Prostate Cancer UK helpline who provided me with the factual, non-personal stuff. But what really put things into perspective was something I read online about a guy who’s the same age as me and who works in the same industry that I did. He had put off his chemo so he could visit his family in Canada only to find that when he got back he no longer qualified for the treatment anymore. Imagine how being in his position must be and there I am thinking I’ve been dealt a bad hand.
I’m still bloody wound up though.