So you've probably noticed I've been rather quiet over the last year, despite my assurances that I planned on staying on the radar. Well, the reason is simple. In february, my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. She had an operation to remove what could be removed, but despite treatment the cancer rapidly came back. It went terminal last month, and she passed away today.
As you might imagine, I've been rather shell-shocked throughout this time, hence my silence. I haven't given up on FMG, but I need to weather this storm and let the grief subside a bit before I can go back to finishing up the numerous half written stories I've got lurking on my memory stick.
However, I would like to give a few pointers regarding cancer in the hope that others may be able to avoid the trauma I'm currently going through.
>If someone has persistent fatigue that goes on for more than a year, they should get themselves checked out, that is, scanned. My mother's cancer was believed present for 5/6 years before diagnosis, and this was the only symptom that manifested. The doctor put it down to anxiety and depression, despite how long she suffered from it.
>Several types of cancer manifest symptoms similar to the much less serious condition IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome); stomach cramps, persistent nausea and bloating. If someone gets these symptoms with no prior record of such problems AND they rapidly worsen, GET IT SCANNED. In my mother's case the symptoms came from her intestines being crushed by the growing cancer.
>If cancer has been diagnosed, don't just assume that all hospitals are equally suited to dealing with it. In the United Kingdom at least, each hospital specialises in a particular problem. Do research, find out which hospital deals with the particular cancer you're dealing with, and ARRANGE A REFERRAL. Also remember that it may be faster to go abroad; Germany is apparently one of the best countries for dealing with cancer (and cheaper than the UK is too).
>Don't assume that because the cancer is initially stable, that it will stay that way. It took about three months for my mother to go from having just a small tumour in her ovary that was too risky to remove with the other tumours, to covering her entire lower body and taking her life. Don't dawdle in seeking alternative treatment.
>In a similar vein, don't assume that nausea, muddled head or tiredness are purely side effects of chemotherapy. It may be that the cancer sufferer is keeping just how bad things are to themselves to avoid distressing the family. That's what happened to me; I only learnt it was terminal with a week to go. I knew it was bad before then, but not that bad.
I know this is a grim topic, and not one you probably want to read, but I really do suggest you take note of what I've said. Particularly the first two points; my mother was 56 and never smoked or drunk alcohol. Yet she still got cancer, and well before the normal danger period of 60+ years. Don't let someone you know (or yourself for that matter) fall into the same trap of "I'm too young to get cancer with my healthy lifestyle".