Hi dear readers, (this post has since been updated with new information but I don't want to post it yet until everyone who is interested has done with this post, I need to keep it at the top of the page I think, so I have added some basic info down the bottom of this post and will update in more detail very soon, thank you) today I asked a very difficult thing of a very dear friend of mine. I asked her to write me all about what she would do if she knew she had only 12 months left to live on this earth. My friend has a young child like I do, she is very wise and intuitive so I was really interested in what her thoughts on this would be. Sure enough what she wrote me was beautiful and inspiring, it helped me greatly to read about all the wonderful, important and yet simple things that she would do with limited time, she wrote things that I could relate to and yet still hadn't done or 'put right' thinking that there would be time. I think a lot of us put things off because there is always tomorrow. Things like telling certain people we love them, forgiving things that perhaps we still hold a little grudge about - thinking to ourselves that we will forgive but not just yet, maybe in a few weeks time, doing little things that can really make a difference in peoples lives, even strangers. I know there are a lot of things that I would wish I had done if I died tomorrow, so I think it is a great exercise to take part in, it can help remind us of what is truly important, we tend to get so sidetracked and to think we are immortal until something comes along and reminds us that we are not. I wonder how differently we would live if we were reminded every single day that we possibly will not be around much longer. How different would our days be, how different would some of our choices be? The wonderful thing is that we do have some time left even if it is a small amount of time we can still do something worthwhile and feel good about it.
My friend wrote me after she had done this exercise for me, that we should all ask ourselves this question from time to time as none of us know how long we are here for and it can give us perspective as to whether we are living the authentic lives we would hope we had lived if we were on our death bed so to speak. I totally agree with her, it is something we should all do, any of us could leave the planet tomorrow or next week or next month, we just don't know when.
Anyway, I am here today to ask you to write me all about what you would do if you had only 12 months left to live. What would be really important for you, the things that mean so much, that you would regret if you didn't do them and left this planet soon. I know it's kind of a tough question and when I asked my dear friend to do this for me I was a little worried that it might be upsetting for her and uncomfortable for her to have to think about but it was the opposite for her, which tells you what kind of brave, wonderful person she is. She actually found it very positive and therapeutic (her words). I am going to make a list myself and will post it on my blog and I was thinking you could post yours on your blogs and in the comments section of my blog, just post a link to them. I would appreciate you doing this so very much as it helps me to rise above the pain and fear and worry and think about the wonderful things I can still do and still achieve, it helps me to clarify my own thoughts and ideas and perhaps will give me some new ideas too. I also believe it would help other men and women, you don't need to be ill with cancer or any other sickness to think about the importance of this question. As I pointed out before, any of us could leave this planet at any moment! So, please, if you can without it causing you to much pain, share with us what you would do with your life if you only had 12 months left. I thank you in advance and I look forward to reading your wonderful posts if you decide you would like to do this. Okay, take good care my friends, more soon. (PS: I am starting to handle the bad news better now, I can feel my strength coming back like blood rushing back into your body after you feel faint, it is a good feeling, I need strength right now.) Now go, think and then please write. Thank you. Edited to add: see my friends post here.
Edited to add again: Unfortunately I have worse news today, I have been to one of the best Bowel Surgeons in the country and many other countries as well. He looked at my many CT scans and PET scans and copies of reports, tests, etc he also did a quick, (if embarrassing) examination - yes he looked up my bottom, I never get used to that I've gotta say, doesn't matter how many times I have had it done, I still hate it. Anyway he was very, very quick, about 3 seconds in total and said he had seen all he needed to see, he could tell what was causing the pain and the problems. I got dressed and sat down. He proceeded to tell me that I have cancer all around my anus and coming out actually. Gross!!! To much information I know but again it is real and I'm doin' real here on this blog now. Anyway, he then proceeded to tell me exactly what my previous Surgeon told me and that was that in order to remove this huge tumour to relieve the pain it would require surgery the likes of that which would nearly kill me. I would need my entire anus, rectum removed. My vagina removed, my bladder removed, my uterus removed and I would then be flat on my back for at least 6 months with virtually no quality of life. I would have 3 'bag's' rather than the one I have now. I would have all this done only to die soon afterwards because there is too much cancer and I cannot be saved now, I can only be palliated. Oh and even if I wanted to have all that surgery on the off chance the cancer didn't get me for a while at least, I couldn't as there would more than likely be no-one who would do it. I certainly know my original surgeon won't and also this new one made it very clear that he wouldn't either. He would if he thought I had any chance at all of survival because I am young but he knows I won't survive and he doesn't want my last months spent like that. He also told me that he is amazed that I am still alive. Since my liver operation in July '07, I should have died sometime within this 6 months past. He said this shows him that I am amazingly strong and will probably last longer than anyone thinks I will but still it will get me in 12 - 18 months with treatment. The only treatment he recommends for me is more radiology IF I am allowed to have more, you can only have a certain amount of radiotherapy before it starts to damage bone marrow and all sorts of other complications set in. He has booked me in the my previous radiologist as he has all the dosages of my last lot and he will know whether I can have more or not. If I can, the surgeon believes it will shrink the tumor and buy me time. I haven't got the answers from my Oncologist as to what type of chemo he wants to do but when I find out next week, the surgeon wants me to come back and see him and run it by him before I accept. He says to definitely have treatment but he wants to make sure it is the right treatment. I think the most awful, devastating part of this whole journey is that it did not necessarily have to turn out this way. This new surgeon, (he is actually a Professor now) explained where and how I have been neglected, incorrectly diagnosed at times. Some of the horrid things that have happened to me throughout this I told him of and he said those things would have alerted him instantly to the fact that the cancer was back and in exactly what are. Whereas my Surgeon had no idea, told me the wrong thing, and then didn't send me to someone else when he was out of his league, he simply pretended that he knew what he was doing. This new surgeon did say that he would only know because he has studied it for years and it has been his passion, to discover and research all bowel conditions from the most simple to the most complex. I just can't bear to think I am dying and my boys will lose their Mother because of neglect and arrogance and lack of knowledge. Anyway, I will get off my soapbox as getting angry will not do me any good, it is what it is, it has happened, all I can do is move past it and try to do as much as I can now to remedy what has gone wrong. Anyway please continue to pray for me and I thank you you for your beautiful and supportive comments so far. Take care our yourselves and each other. x
Things To Smile About Today:
I have found a new Oncologist and Surgeon and as soon as he heard what pain I was in he got me in to see him the very next day (tomorrow). He is very well qualified and comes with credentials a mile long, so I feel better.
I am feeling a little better in myself, I think I am coming to terms with what is happening to me.
My Mum is helping me out financially for a while, at least till I'm better or gone!
I have realized it is not death itself that horrifies me, it is leaving my kids behind, I don't want them to feel that much pain. At least I am gaining greater clarity.