What, Cancer! Me??
In June 2019, after a short stay in hospital and some rather unpleasant tests I was diagnosed with advanced Colon Cancer. I’m not going to lie; I was in shock!!!
At the beginning of May, I went to my GP as I was experiencing some bloating and on one (and only one!!) occasion some new pain in my right side. I have lived with Endometriosis for most of my adult life, so abdominal pain is just something I have lived with. My GP decided that they wanted to do some blood tests, so these were booked however, as I’m sure you’re aware this appointment was 3 weeks later as getting appointments at the surgery is like finding hens teeth!!!
That Tuesday I went and had my bloods done, took all of 5 minutes. I then went to complete my 12.5hr shift at work without a worry in the world. Little was I to know this was to be the last day of normality I was to experience.
To let you all know I work in Mental Health, every single day is busy and completely different. I do not stop whilst at work, my patients will not allow it. Some days I get home and I never want to speak to another human being ever again, like ever!!! However, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I love my job and my patients are amazing. It’s exhausting, infuriating, mentally and physically draining but so rewarding.
That Tuesday was manic. I got home took my phone out and noticed I had roughly 6 missed calls from a number I did not recognise but no voicemail. I didn’t think anything of it, probably PPI chasing me or the usual ‘Our records show that you have been in an accident’ call, after all it couldn’t have been important because they hadn’t left a message! I got home had something to eat, saw to the furbabies (I’ll introduce you to those two later!) said hello to my fiancé David, and went to get ready for bed, at this point everything changed, there was a knock at the door, who the fuck is this? Its 22:20hrs on a Tuesday night!
The man at the door had a messenger bag, we thought he was bringing pizza, I was wrong. He asked David if Katie Staincliffe lived here and if so, was she OK and breathing!!!! Confused faces all round!! He explained that he was the out of hours Doctor and needed to see Katie IMMEDIATELY! I came downstairs, in my pyjamas and sat on the sofa. My mind was racing, I thought something had happened to my grandma, I thought this guy was going to stand there and tell me my grandma had died, but why was he here, at my house, wouldn’t that be a phone call???
The Doctor seemed genuinely shocked when he saw me, (his face said I had three heads, it was complete disbelief!) he asked if I was feeling ok, I was. He asked if I felt faint, I did not. He then told me that my blood results were back. Now I don’t know about you but my GP surgery say give it a week before you start chasing results, not 12 hours! He informed us that my results were worrying and that the hospital had been trying to phone me to check I was still alive (ah, the missed calls!!!) and as I hadn’t answered they suspected the worst and had sent the Doctor. My blood count had come back, it was 36 (oh fuck! I shouldn’t be breathing!!!) now for the non-medical amongst us a normal, healthy blood count is between 125 and 150. I was informed that at this level I needed a transfusion, however the results might not be correct as I was ok, he told me to get some sleep and go see my GP or go to A&E in the morning to have the test redone. He left; I went to bed. David asked what I was going to do, I had no idea, I’ll go to A&E as the GP will just send me there any way.
That night I did not sleep. What the fuck is going on? Why am I so anaemic? I did what I tell people not to do, I googled my symptoms, three clicks and Google said I was going to die! I put my phone away, this can’t be right.