cancer: Squamous Cell
Carcinoma of the Spincter
Date Diagnosed: January 2018
Location: Mackay, Queensland
On January 23rd 2018 I awoke from surgery to receive the worst news of my life. I had been diagnosed with cancer.
So back into hospital I found myself on the 29th to have it removed. Prognosis was very positive. So I rested and healed and did everything my physio, GP & surgeon expected of me. I was told that everything was good and I could finally return to work on the 1st of May. It was the best day of my life returning to the job that I love and hold dear. But then my body started failing me. I thought it was because I’d been off my feet and not used to the day to day stress on ones body being back on my feet at work. I persevered but couldn’t do it.
Fast forward to the 4th of June 2018 and the news that no one ever wants to hear was given to me. The damn thing had dropped in to say hi again. So began the next leg of this journey, on the 25th June I was taken out of work and started the process of organising the radiation therapy.
BUT then I got told there was also chemo involved. CHEMO (that dreaded word was never mentioned before to me) My world started to collapse around me. Cancer has no respect for age. It can affect anyone. My 53rd birthday was fast approaching. I wallowed and stressed. WHY ME, WHY NOW. Just when I got my life together and was happy and settled and ready to move forward with my new chapter in my life. Then it hit me. WHY NOW was always jumping into my thoughts. Now I know that NOW was the perfect time. I had so much more to fight for than I did a few years ago. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life. I discovered friends I didn’t realise I had and lost friends I thought I had. But through it all I’ve tried to remain positive and focused. Don’t get me wrong though it’s been a horror of a trip. Nights laying awake wondering. Late night phone calls to friends and family to tell me everything was going to be ok. But still unless it resides in your body you can never know the horror of it. But still I put on the face and the smile (yes I’m good at that) and powered through even when the thoughts of ‘is it really worth it’ and the body didn’t wanna do what I wanted it to. And so we fast forward to this Friday 24/08/18 and after 192 hours of chemo and 30 sessions of radiation therapy it will finally be over for this leg. The weeks have flown but the days have been endless and ongoing. Friday’s were always a blessing as I could rest the body for 2 days and then, well it’s back to it.
The journey is still far from over but I’m back on top of it. I start counselling with Cancer Council Qld on Thursday to help with the healing of the mind and soul as the body also begins to heal. So c’mon Friday,
Let’s get this leg finished so I can look to my future again. To all you out there THANKS FOR BEING THERE WITH AND FOR ME. 😀💚 (and I can’t believe I wrote this without tearing up once. Proves to me I’m stronger than I ever thought I was🙃)’
The following poem I wrote the night before my last session:
“The shadows swept overhead Then the swirling waves appeared …& so began the drowning
Reaching out and clasping
Endlessly down I swirl
There are hands there but to pull me out or drag me down
I could not fathom
I tried to stay and steer the course but still those shadows and darkness kept constricting my breath
Breath I was told... but it was impossible to do The waves kept crashing overhead. It was an eddy of insurmountable odds that I was swept up in & down…down …down I tumbled. But then through the darkness I raised my face to the heavens and finally saw a glimmer Fleeting though it was it was there It came & it went and it came again.
So I took a breath and closed my eyes thinking I was finally going to be at peace…whatever the outcome
Then through the clamor of my thoughts I heard it...
‘Take this hand & when I have given you my all there will be another to help bring you back’
I focused on it it with all I had left Slowly but surely I found and clung to them and was raised through the turmoil of my thoughts and past the shadows still swirling. They pierced the darkness and raised me back to the calm of the light.
They were & are my friends
They were & are my family
They were & are strangers
They were & are my life and
They were giving me my life.
They were & are my everything.
We are not meant to be alone in this life ‘cause when we have the strength no more…
They we always be there for us.”