Don’t be cavalier with a cancer diagnosis

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Denial

I talk often about my diagnosis but not about an ‘incident’ which occurred almost immediately prior to being formally told.  In fact it happened on 24th July 2010, 10 years to the date this post was published.  (Spoiler alert – I’m still here).

I was well into the ‘diagnostic phase’, having had all sorts of tests including a liver biopsy.  I vividly remember thinking these tests were a ‘nuisance’, I was far too busy and I didn’t even feel ill.  In hindsight, I was fortunate to have had such a thorough bunch of physicians who diagnosed me with metastatic Neuroendocrine Cancer in about 6 weeks ‘flash to bang’.  I intentionally use a phrase associated with ‘quick’ because in the world of Neuroendocrine Cancer, 6 weeks is ‘warp speed’.

So why was I admitted to hospital during the diagnostic phase? Because I was stupid.  In fact I was double-stupid. Firstly, despite having had to undergo a liver biopsy and a referral to an Oncologist, I was in a dismissive frame of mind and was blanking out any thought that I actually had cancer. I didn’t have time for it, I was far too busy. I’m in control!  Secondly, despite being told to take it easy after the liver biopsy, I ignored that advice because I was far too busy getting on with a normal life. After all, this is just another test hurdle and I’ll get the all clear. Other people get Cancer but not me.

On the weekend following the liver biopsy, the family came round, so I decided to do normal things like lifting one of my grandsons up (as one does) and I prepared the BBQ which involved lifting a 13.5kg cannister of gas from the garage onto the patio.  Why not? I didn’t have anything wrong with me and I didn’t even feel ill.

However, as that Saturday afternoon progressed so did the pain; and to the point that I knew I had to seek help. To cut a long story short, I was eventually admitted to hospital for what was to be diagnosed as a bleed on my liver at the biopsy site.  Oh how the mighty fall.

On the positive side, I got another bunch of tests including scans as confirmation (….a second opinion from a different hospital).  However, it was the wake-up call I needed to take it seriously. I was discharged on the Monday in time for my very first Oncology appointment with my wife Chris in attendance.  For the first time, we were officially told I had Cancer – it was much more than just a ‘scare’. For me, the denial was over, indicating that I was never actually in control of what was happening to me.

Finally some food for thought …… In hindsight, I made the serious mistake of not talking to anyone about my denial and I suspect that led to me acting stupidly.

It really is OK to talk about Cancer

p.s. I’m now slightly mellower about my cancer, you might say I’m back in control?

 

Thanks for reading

Ronny

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10 thoughts on “Don’t be cavalier with a cancer diagnosis

  • Ed

    I just finished my last PRT radiation treatment and I feel awesome. I’m tolerating food much better now and can even drink coffee again. Can’t wait till October to see the results of the CAT Scan.

  • Because I’d already been blogging for several years and because writing helps me process things, I’ve lived my cancer experience out loud, so to speak, since the very beginning. I’m definitely not an extrovert, but I think that being open about what I’ve been going through has helped me mentally and emotionally. I hope I haven’t bothered too many people along the way! Congrats on 10 years living life to the fullest!

  • Lissa Lippmann

    I am getting better about talking with folks about my life with cancer, but I really don’t like to focus on it with others. It makes other people uncomfortable and I don’t want them to look at me and think “cancer”. I am an introvert that would rather fly under the radar, I guess. I know I have to deal with it on a daily basis trying to keep all the juggler’s balls in the air in order to keep balance and quality of life. On the other hand, internalizing all of this can backfire too. It can all be so overwhelming. One day at a time, right? Blessings to you on your 10 year marker. -Lissa

  • Tony McGrory

    Hi Ronny – would appreciate a chat sometime re Lanreotide experience. I’m about to ‘engage’

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