Warning this document contains several graphic Gillian McKeith moments which may be offensive to sensitive readers, while reading you may find the need to avert your eyes.
A fat questionnaire pops through the letterbox from the glorious creator of my new breasts. Once again as I read through the probing questions I am reminded the consultants treating me dare to reach for the stars. Like worker bees they beaver away to give me the best, yes, I feel lucky to be their problem!
In spite of the belt and braces approach the treatment plan is only as strong as the weakest link, things can go wrong. Way back in the historic early days of this winding twisting drama I had an alarming consultation with Mr Bottom Consultant suggesting there’s a possibility I have colon cancer. Days later I had a bummer of a day having it checked out with a botched flexible Sigmoidoscopy. The nurse gave no explanation of procedure for enema, inserting it in without consent. Later in the procedure room there is scant explanation of the process addressed only to my exposed nether regions with close on zero reassurance from the team. In the middle of the unpleasant procedure, me lieing there with much machinery sticking out of my bottom the team couldn’t find the instruments for removal of the polyp they found. Doors opening and closing, much stressed muttering during frantic scrabbling through cupboards, eventually someone goes to collect the necessary from the next door treatment room. A deeply grim experience that inspired no confidence at all.
Ironically, in the months before my breast cancer diagnosis, I feel lucky to have been there with the architect through his colon cancer. It taught me so much, I didn’t think the tool box I assembled during that period would be used so soon and certainly not on myself!
The staff have a direct impact on how you feel during treatment, the wonderful staff on his chemo ward taught and prepared me, they showed me to watch and listen. How to touch, to hug, to withdraw, how the smallest actions can make such a big difference to someones’ day, how the choice of words can have a positive or negative impact, how reassurance and empathy go a very long way to making the experience as stress free as possible.
Since I discovered I still needed a colonoscopy, forever, during this drama I’ve been asking to get on with it. One set back after another follows. Mr Breast Consultant is emphatic as he says, you have been very, very ill, your body has been through so much, you are not strong enough to undergo the procedure.
Just as all I want to do is forget, play out and giggle, tomorrow, months later, I have my appointment for a colonoscopy. I am strong enough, hooray. As the date has moved closer I have noticed the structure I have so carefully been weaving back into my life is no longer knitting together, it’s sagging and wobbling, get back in the moment, stay calm. The mega laxatives do their horrid work and sitting on the loo I promise next time I have such a marathon stint in the smallest room, it will be because I’m on that exotic holiday I have been promising myself.