“And then I think: why to do all that if I’ll die anyway…”

154681_1077408382325212_4443341339048916548_n Hello!

I know that a lot of you keep asking Aga how I feel and so on. It’s very nice of you and thank you :). We thought it’d be the best if I write something from myself, I’ll tell you how it all started, how I feel and what will happen next…

From the beginning, how did I find out I was sick?

There was time when my stomach hurt. At first “innocently”, from time to time. What was I supposed to do? I thought it’ll hurt and it’ll stop, nothing bad is happening. Over time it became beyond endurance. The pain would get worse after I ate and it didn’t matter what I ate. I started going to doctors and I was sending away every time. I was told to take nospa (postscript – nospa is a medicine in Poland dedicated to woman with period cramps), to change my diet to an easy to digest one and it’ll go away. OK, I ate differently, stopped eating sweets, fried foods, drinking alcohol. Did it help? NO. At my medical clinic waiting to see a family doctor sometimes takes two weeks so my boyfriend took me there when more doctors where on duty, you just go and have to wait a few hours but they’ll see you for sure. One of them said the same thing: NOSPA AND IT’LL GO AWAY. The next day I went to the same clinic but a different doctor counting that maybe this time she’ll tell me something different. I’ll never forget this visit… 2PM, I go inside the office, sit up and the talk begins…

Doctor: Yes?

Me: You’re another doctor I’m coming to. My stomach has been hurting for a while now… (Blah, blah, blah… I’m telling her everything step by step, exactly how things have been happening.)

D: Take nospa, eat light and it should stop.

M: Nospa doesn’t help me.

D: What do you mean it doesn’t help? It helps everyone, you don’t have a different organism than others.

M: (My jaw dropped, I raised my voice.) So maybe you’ll send me to do some tests? 

D: But what kind of tests do you want me to send you to?

To be honest, here I was like “are you kidding me?” I started yelling.

M: Who’s a doctor here? Me or you?

D: Don’t be nervous… (Seriously?!) We can check your blood and urine, you haven’t done it for a while.

I’ll remember this woman for the rest of my life and I’m never going to go back to her again! I did these tests. They showed nothing. I thought ok, maybe it’ll go away. If anything gets worse, I’ll think more about it. I was going to work during it all. It was hard because of the pain but I had to because otherwise I’d stay with no money.

And then it came, the day when everything started. 

Nothing was happening at work. My belly hurt the same way as always. I went to the bathroom… Blood. I got afraid and typed my symptoms in Google. Yes, I know… Stupid thing to do! I read: irritable bowel syndrome, some infections, some cancer, another cancer and some more cancers. “Me and a cancer? Impossible!” I finished at 9PM, my boyfriend came to pick me up, I told him what happened, how I felt. And I didn’t go home that night, we went to the ER. Someone finally started doing something. They sent me to a hospital where I went to the day after. They started doing things fast. They sent me to do a colonoscopy and I had an appointment for the next week only because nurses put me in, otherwise I’d have to wait until November and it was April/May.

I did the colonoscopy. I don’t know if any of you had it but after it you’re in a recovery room until your medicine run out and stuff like that. And I was waiting for results. After a while a doctor came and later on I found out he was an oncological surgeon. He explained everything to me. I only remember: “it’s probably a cancer”, I didn’t hear anything else. We set up another appointment and other tests and they it was all clear – colon cancer. Later they told me it was an aggressive cancer. And later we found out that my liver and lymph nodes were attacked as well. Doctors were shocked that such a young person can have this kind of a cancer, this doesn’t happen! Well, it does.

How I felt? My first thought was “why me?!” and then, when things in my life started going better… The doctor decided we had to do a surgery to cut off the part of my intestine with the cancer. I went to the hospital on Sunday and I had my surgery the next day. May 16th. This day I won’t forget either. I never was so afraid before! They put me in the OR and I wanted to run away. There was nobody from the staff and if a nurse didn’t come, I’d probably get up and go away.

The surgery, hospital stay, it was fine. There was a worse thing in front of me – chemotherapy. I had two doses so far. My first visit and the doctor’s appointment went well. But waiting for the chemo… Let me tell you, I panicked. I started crying, my heart was racing like crazy. And, honestly, if I was alone (my boyfriend was there with me), I’d go out. I’d pretend nothing happened, that I already had chemo or something… The second one went easier. I was afraid too but not as much as the first time. Well, I need to have it for at least six months and then we’ll see if anything changes, if this terrible monster will go away ;). If not my and my boyfriend’s stubbornness, and now when I think about it it’s mostly him, it’s possible I still wouldn’t know what’s happening inside of my body and it’d be killing me. 

How do I feel physically?

Unfortunately, not well. There are better and worse days but I have more of the bad ones. I don’t eat much, I throw up a lot. I lost 12 kg (26 lbs). I don’t go anywhere by myself because I’m too weak. There’s no way I can walk more than 10-15 without stopping. Everything that weighs more than 1 kg (2,2 lbs) is too heavy for me. Earlier I was going to the gym and strength training was my passion and now… A stationary bicycle is too tiring for me. I still have hair :D. It’s falling out and sometimes I have hand fulls but you can’t see a difference yet. I have scarfs just in case but I hope I won’t have to use them ;).

How’s my mental health? 

I have good and bad days too but, FORTUNATELY, there’s more good ones. I have support from my boyfriend, family, friends and it’s very important. I often hear that I look very nice and that there’s no way to tell there’s something wrong and it helps too :). However, there are times when I feel as if someone chewed me and spit me up. Then I think “why to do all that if I’ll die anyway” and I think to refuse further treatment. These thoughts go away fast but they’re there. 

I think that’s all I wanted to share.

For the end let me add that the healthcare in Poland is the way it is but don’t let any doctor dismiss you when you have any concerns about your health because, as you can see, a stupid stomach ache can have its end in the oncological treatment.

Take care,

Dorota

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