A few weeks 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, what I didnt know all the time I was lying on a sunbed soaking up the Caribbean sun drinking ‘pina coladas’, was the fact that Neuroendocrine Tumours had been growing in my small intestine, had spread into my mesenteric lymph nodes, into my liver, into my left armpit and into my left clavicle area. I also had no clue that the excess serotonin released by these tumours was causing a dense fibrotic reaction (desmoplasia) in the mesentery and in the retroperitoneal cavity having encircled the major blood vessels of the aorta and inferior vena cava almost blocking the latter. That problem alone might have been the end of me.
WTF! I had no idea or did I?
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‘ (this too shall pass) 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 5 weeks ahead. To cut a long story short, I bypassed that and went straight to a private appointment 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, cancer was trying to kill me and I had no idea.
Education and awareness reduces the risk. Listen to me talk about these issues here.
If you know anyone who thinks they may have a Neuroendocrine Cancer but are having trouble gettting a diagnosis, send them this artilce – click here.
Thanks for reading