My GP told me that I’d need an operation, and would get a bag, an illeostomy, but that would be a temporary thing. “I knew it was a tumour” he said, but I wasn’t going to say till I was sure.
I asked about other patients, no names, I just wanted to know if there were others and how they were. “One is dead and the other is dying” he said, which didn’t sound too hopeful.
I was never really happy with my life and had considered suicide once or twice, thought about it, spoken about it… an uncle of mine had done it, he’d used a gun on himself, maybe the cancer is a way out? I felt stangely happy about that for a moment, and yet, for some reason, I felt as though I wasn’t going to die.
“This is going to be a big rollercoaster ride for you” he said.
I went home and told Mum straight out that it was cancer, rectal cancer, there was no worming around the issue, and I think she knew anyway because if it had only been a polyp, surely they would have just burnt it off while I was there?
All I needed to do now was to see my surgeon, the one who’d done the colonoscopy.
“You’ll need surgery” He said, and I told him “No, I wouldn’t”… I think that the information had sunk in then. “If you don’t have it, you’ll die” He said. He had a point, there was a lot more blood in the toilet lately.
He said that he operates with the old method, a large cut down the middle, which takes weeks to recover, so He suggested that I see Mr. Tjandra of The Royal Melbourne Hospital, who was doing a laproscopic or keyhole surgery which isn’t as stressful to the body. I decided to go for that, and so we made a date to meet him, but what needed to be done first was to have a catscan, I’d never had one before and felt really nervous about it.
I was at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and was called by a nurse to come out the back, and she gave me a great big cup of something roughtly the colour of pee. I was to drink the lot within the hour and then drink the remainder in the jug.
I was very suspicious of the stuff, not knowing what it actually was, or it’s effect on me.
After a while, I began to get hot flushes, and they were worried that I might be having a reaction to it, so they made me sit where they could watch me… I was fine… I didn’t have the catscan and went home.
About a week later I went again, and this time got it all down.
I was taken to a small room and asked to strip, and wear a white gown, I was then lead into the catscan room and asked to lay on my side. A nurse came in and explained that they had to put more of the fluid into my rear end, which was squirted in via a syringe… it was cold. they did this about three times.
The next thing they did was connect a drip to my arm, this was connected to a strange looking device next to me, with the biggest syringe you’ve ever seen, I didn’t know what that was.
During a catscan everyone goes into hiding and you don’t know what’s going on, the machine clanks and grinds much like your home scanner, I felt very suspicious of it, I don’t trust those kinds of things, and the more I was left alone, the more worried I became.
Finally a computer voice said “Take a deep breath, and hold it” which I did, and I went through the scanner pretty quickly, it only takes about ten seconds.
I don’t think it was the actual scan, just adjustments.
Then the table I was on was reset to the original position and I was told to Breathe in again, I did, and went through the scanner once more, and suddenly my face felt really hot, like I’d just taken a belt of whiskey, I yelled out that I was getting hot. They stopped the scan and someone ran out and explained that it was just the dye going in, and it would pass.
They continued the scan and then I was allowed to get up and go.
With all the fluid that was inside me, I peed like a stallion.
Mr Joe Tjandra (pron. Chandra) was a big fellow, and very serious looking.He looked every bit the expert in his field, and I couldn’t help but feel humble. The first thing he did was ask me if I’d had surgery before, I told him I hadn’t, but he checked for evidence anyway by getting me to lift up my shirt and look for old scars.
I thought, mistakenly that this was to be an interview, but was going to be more than that, ow my poor arse,