A month before I was diagnosed in July 2010, Chris and I flew off to Barbados on holiday. Both of us were looking forward to a nice break after a hectic start to 2010. When we got back, we both agreed it was the most relaxing holiday we had ever been on.
However, whilst I was lying on a sunbed soaking up the Caribbean sun drinking ‘pina coladas’, Neuroendocrine Tumours were growing in my small intestine, spreading into my mesenteric lymph nodes, into my liver, into my left armpit and into my left clavicle area. The excess serotonin being released was causing a dense fibrotic retro-peritoneal reaction (desmoplasia) encircling my aorta and cava almost blocking the latter. That problem alone might have been the end of me.
Just prior to going on holiday, I knew I had an issue with a low haemoglobin blood test and was waiting to be told what would happen next. However, I wasn’t even the slightest bit worried, this was ‘something and nothing’ despite the fact that I’d been ignoring a minor flushing sensation for 6 months and sporadic and infrequent diarrhea for longer. When we returned from holiday, there was a letter of referral to a local anaemia clinic in 5 weeks time. To cut a long story short, I bypassed that and went straight to a Gastroenterologist and was diagnosed very shortly after with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer.
The saying “what you don’t know won’t kill you” is not always accurate in the context of cancer. Any cancer can kill. The consequences of cancer will also try.
Education and awareness reduces the risk.
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