Regular user
Female 64 y.o.

I was very ill for 5 weeks, starting in June 2021, with sickness and diarrhea. Eating was very difficult, I was losing weight, becoming weaker, and almost screaming for help from the GPs. In our local practice, it's pot luck which doctor you talk to so there was no continuity.

The first doctor I saw referred me for an urgent colonoscopy and prescribed anti-emetic medication. I had 3 weeks to wait until 24th June. The colonoscopy could not be completed due to an obstruction in my colon. The colonoscopist couldn't understand why I hadn't been referred for a CT scan first, but referred me for an urgent scan. The appointment came through for 14th July - another 3 week wait.

By this time I was so emotional, crying and not knowing what to do. I was so weak through sickness and diarrhea, and lack of food. I have suffered from depression for many years and was on a maintenance dose of medication. One of the GPs decided that the dosage should be doubled. It's a good job that he did!

The first week of July I had the out of hours doctor in twice to give me an anti-emetic injection because the retching wouldn't stop. Finally, on 8th July, a reliable GP from the practice came for a home visit and had me admitted to hospital.

On the morning of 9th July 2021, I was given a CT scan and the diagnosis on the evening ward round. I had a tumour almost blocking my colon, with secondaries in my abdomen and liver. Talk about your world crashing in on you!

The surgeon said that they couldn't operate to remove all the cancer and his preferred option was to fit a stent through the primary tumour. This doesn't require surgery and therefore there is no protracted period of recovery, allowing the patient to be given chemo more quickly. I went for that and the following morning the stent was fitted.

I was allowed home 4 days later but it was a while before I ate much. I became obsessed with bowel movements. Following discussion of my case at the MDT I had a call from my clinical nurse specialist to say that they wanted to do a liver biopsy to obtain more information. There's a relatively new technique which allows the biopsy to be studied at a molecular level, thereby allowing even better targeting of treatment. This was going to delay treatment, but I was also told that this cancer does not tend to be aggressive and I am likely to have had it for some time.

**more to come...