My name is Pauline and I am 55 years old at the end of this month (August 2009)
I came to live in and work in Spain in 2002 with my husband, daughter and granddaughter. All went well until October 2007 when I was diagnosed with colon cancer; from here on in it would probably be better if I put events down in diary form:
Oct 07 Almeria Diagnosed with colon cancer.
Nov 07 Almeria admitted to Hospital Virgen del Mar in Almeria for operation to remove the tumour. It was decided that the tumour was malignant but at stage 1 so no further treatment was necessary.
March 08 Symptoms of bleeding from the anus plus bloating of stomach (which i now know is a classic sign of ovarian cancer) although not gaining weight. After colonoscopy was told that it was the anastomosis (site of the surgery) that was bleeding and not too worry; and to take more exercise.
July 08 Marbella while on holiday and feeling gradually quite ill, tiredness unable to eat, and eventually vomiting was taken into the USP hospital in Marbella and was the diagnosed with a recurrence of the colon cancer AT THE ORIGINAL SITE and a very large tumour (11cm) on my left ovary. Operated on for full hysterectomy plus resection of the colon. In hospital for 5 weeks.
August 08 Back home in Almeria to arrange chemotherapy for the Ovarian cancer first as it was considered the most dangerous. Had 4 sessions of chemo in which I lost complete body hair after 2 weeks, but by
December 08 the bleeding had returned from the colon cancer, so was sent for a pet Tac scan at Granada which showed that the bowel cancer had returned once again IN THE SAME SPOT, so it was decided that I should have adjuvant therapy of radiotherapy every day Monday to Friday for 30 sessions plus weekly chemo.
Jan 5th 2009 started this intense treatment which was in Murcia, and for the first few days I drove myself, but became increasingly ill and then saw the MACS advert in the paper and telephoned Elaine, who became my guiding light. Without the help and support that Macs offered me at the most difficult time I do not think I nor my family could have survived, that was the worst time of my life and, in the end, I had to stop the treatment at No 26 as I physically could not get out of bed to get into the car to go to Murcia.
Mar 09 Went back to Marbella (because the surgeon and oncologist who I had met previously were excellent and I really trusted them) for another operation to remove the now smaller tumour and leave me with a temporary ileostomy with bag. I should say at this point that my previous oncologist in Murcia only offered me a permanent colostomy which I did not want so went for a second opinion to Marbella, hence my return there.
I am now receiving FOLFOX chemotherapy in Almeria for the colon cancer, which is the first real treatment I have had for this cancer, just had my fifth session only another 7 to go then I go back to Marbella for the reversal operation for the ileostomy. The good news is my hair grew back very curly and I still have IT!
Despite all odds I am still going strong and look well (most of the time) (and I have Macs support to thank as part of the healing process).
Hopefully I will be at the next MACS meeting, chemo sessions allowing, to meet up with the other fighters in this war and I truly believe that there is always hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.