Ward 12 – bowel cancer babes

I don’t remember being in a recovery room at all, still don’t. My first memory was of being in a bed in a ward and at some point I saw my mom and Steve briefly but that’s it, it’s all a bit of a blur. I have pumping things on my two feet which keep my legs moving at all times, I have cannulars, drips, wires and oxygen bet I looked lovely. I remember having a piece of toast and a drink of coffee and that unbelievably I was not in any pain.
The next day the nurses of ward 12 were looking after us straight away, testing and monitoring us and attending to our needs. I was in a ward of 5 other women all with bowel cancer, three of them were older than me and opposite there was Karen. She was around my age and we exchanged a brief smile but both having been through a big operation none of us were up to chatting at this point.
I remember the anesthetist at the foot of my bed asking the nurses if there was any paralysis! what sort of a question was that! I was then told I had been given an epidural and she was just checking that I wasn’t paralysised. So that was why there was no pain hey and more tubes and wires in me that any woman ever needed, fabulous I thought.
The nurses come round with the drug trolley every few hours and they ask us all the same question “how is your pain on a scale of one to ten” you rate the pain and the magic pills come out of the trolley. Now having an epidural I had no pain I couldn’t feel anything from my tits to my knees but I thought I should have painkillers away as I should be in pain shouldn’t I?
Karen was one day ahead of me in the operation game and was opposite so we could talk before visiting started at 3 pm. She had suffered for about 10 months with her Harry, it was higher up in the bowel and therefore she couldn’t have key hole surgery. She had a 4 year old little boy who she had tried for for 8 years with her husband. Without thinking (I blame the drugs) I said “so you try for years to get a child and you finally get your wish and then god gives you cancer” Her face crumbled and the tears rolled, oh shit I shouldn’t have said that. I regretted it watching her sit and cry I didn’t want to hurt her but ain’t life just shit sometimes hey!
Karen’s pain started to get worse and she was struggling big time. They had removed her epidural and pain had kicked in, so did the sickness and the torment of what her body had gone through. I was next!
They moved me into a chair next to my bed to remove the epidural as it had to be done whilst the pain team were on duty. I sat for a while after it was removed and then it started to build, the pain of what my body had endured. Firstly they gave me a morphine tablet, then an injection of morphine into my mouth. They asked me to rate my pain between one and ten but I just couldn’t answer, it took 3 nurses to get me off the chair and into the bed. I was then hooked up to a self administering morphine drip that they give dying people so you can injected yourself every 5 minutes and no more. No words can express the pain and I just kept on pressing that button hoping the pain would ease.
Mr Mullerat came and saw me daily. He said that I didn’t want to know what they had done to me but that the cancer had gone through the bowel wall and had started to eat away at my tummy so he had to scrape away the muscles. it’s okay I thought, no bag at least, you’ve got to take the positives hey.
Steve bless him decided to post on facebook that I was doing really well, eating toast and drinking coffee. Oh my poor hubby how he paid for that comment! The texts and messages flow into my phone of how pleased everyone is of how well I was doing. I just stopped looking at my phone in the end, did no one have any clue about the pain and suffering I was going through. I remember getting one from my lovely Emma who didn’t mean any harm but I could have thrown my phone at the wall, I was trapped still in this world of pain and everyone thought I was doing really well.
The following nights Karen got worse, she was given a hot water bottle style thing to drain away the washing up liquid coloured sick and was just so ill. We would just look at each other and pass either a thumbs up or thumbs down as to how we were feeling. Two strangers on the same path with no words but a comfort to each other that no one else could understand. I knew she was suffering and I couldn’t help her, I wanted to help but she just kept on suffering everyday not getting any better and I just wanted to cry for her, my new friend that I didn’t know but I knew her pain.

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Married to Steve, I have two children - Rebecca and Richard. Steve has two children, Lauren and Chris. Rebecca lives with us (nurse Rebecca) and my mom Judy also has become nurse and housekeeper but lives in the West Midlands. My son is in the Army and comes home when he can. I am 47, born in 1967 and I was told I had bowel cancer on 22nd Feb 2015 and this blog is my journey through it. I hope it helps you as you were the reason I started it.

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