I’m not saying anyone else is having a whale of a time right now, but the last six months have been quite hard going for us. The temptation to sound off to you all is a strong one, but you’ll be relieved to hear I’m going to resist, despite the fact that based on all your lovely comments over the years I think you’d make fabulous agony aunts and uncles. The trouble is that once I start, I might not stop, and since you’re already well aware of just how long I can ramble on for, I feel we could be in dangerous territory. Plus I have to make dinner soon. Sausages if anyone’s interested.
Instead I hope you’re not squeamish and please don’t read this if you’re eating, because I’m going to talk to you about bowels. Which, by the way, is entirely unconnected to how I ended the last paragraph. And that would never have needed explaining if Tesco had had a chicken big enough for us to have the roast I had been planning on making today instead.
Back to the bowels. In May I began to have issues (it’s ok, it ends well). Nobody needs to hear the details but suffice it to say that the company that makes Immodium, have since offered me an equity partnership due to my heavy investment in their stock. After a few weeks of no change, I decided to make drastic changes to my diet, before my local chemist begged me to.
I therefore embarked on a special diet of eating mostly air for two months, with some boiled rice thrown in every now and then for good measure. Obviously I still had the odd glass of wine, I’ll let you know if I ever get THAT ill.
Still no change, so it was off to the GP for me. Cue a series of sample testing to check for food poisoning and other relatively innocuous things. The samples (as I’m sure most of us have experienced by now) are easy enough to get. Or at least they are as long as you don’t own a Labrador. Unable to be apart from me for longer than thirty seconds, he chose to nose the bathroom door open at the precise moment I was standing, task completed, preparing to insert the spatula into the bottle.
I don’t want to ruin the end of the story, but I’ll give you a heads up – the spatula didn’t get as far as the bottle. That’s all I’m saying – the rest stays between me and my therapist. Naturally it was my husband’s fault for not fitting a lock onto the door in the sixteen years we’ve lived in this house. And anyone about to say incredulously that I could do it myself, clearly hasn’t seen me attempt to put together my daughter’s bedside table. Although I think that wanting drawers that actually open is being too demanding quite frankly.
Anyway the worst part over, I waited for the results. Everything was fine! Except it obviously wasn’t fine because I was still living off oxygen while watching my family of gannets tuck into their lovely food every day. There’s only so many times you can hear ‘poor you Mum. Can you pass the salt?’ before you want to throw something at the wall. Or someone. The GP obviously felt I wasn’t being pushed close enough to the edge, so she ordered more samples to be taken, this time checking for more ominous things.
Tests dutifully completed, I waited for the results. Three days later I received a call from a deathly serious medical secretary, informing me that the tests had shown cancer markers and I needed to come in for an urgent colonoscopy in two days time.
My brain decided to skip past all the crucial optimistic stuff about how many people recover from cancer and how many amazing treatments there now are. Instead it went straight to which music I should have at my funeral, did I have time to do a deep clean on the house, and how to best make my face look sincere when telling my husband he must find someone else when the time came?
I’ll spare you the description of preparing for the colonoscopy. If you know, you know. All I will say is that sipping that drink through a straw does not make it more delicious or make your body less likely to want to give it straight back to you. I had to spare a thought for my poor friend though who had recently had to do a similar prep (worse actually as it was double the amount), and got to the hospital the next morning to be told her operation was postponed.
After a rough night, I arrived at the hospital. I am an anxious patient, and I thought it was better to own up to that fact. I thought wrong. They obviously sensed that I was likely to become hysterical and try to jump out of the window at any moment, because every member of staff I had to deal with after that, edged very carefully into the room, spoke to me in hushed tones and wouldn’t look me in the eye.
However the one piece of very good news was when they looked at my sample results and announced that they were very positive and it was unlikely I had anything to worry about. With the sound of the medical secretary still ringing in my ears, I queried this and it turned out they’d made a mistake. Nobody knew why I’d been given those results but I was fine.
Obviously this was a huge relief but then I started worrying that some other poor soul hadn’t been told their correct results. Much time went by while they investigated and luckily, this wasn’t the case.
The procedure itself was very easy, and the results were indeed fine – polyps removed which weren’t causing me any problems but could have turned into something scary down the line, so I’m glad I had it done. I know it doesn’t end as well for some, and like most families we have lost loved ones to this hideous disease, so I do feel extremely lucky.
It was another few weeks before they found what was causing the problem. I have had an underactive thyroid and have been taking meds for it for over 15 years. Every year I have a test to make sure I’m on the right dose because levels fluctuate. It turns out that if you take too high a dose, it can cause all the problems I’d been having.
But I’m grateful because a) there’s nothing wrong with me (physically obviously, let’s not get into what’s going on in my troubled mind) and b) what happened made me lose 2.5 stone in 8 weeks which I am now happily putting back on in the form of alcoholic calories.
Which reminds me, it’s past six o’clock, so today’s reason for needing a drink is that my teenager has just informed me that she’s now a vegetarian. And the sausages are ready. Happily she has just informed me that she will postpone her new-found morals until after dinner.
Bring on Bedtime!