Chapter list & Overview
CHAPTER 1 – THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE
After months of 12-hour days and a slightly spicy take-away I thought that I deserved a day off and went to the docs with what I thought might be an ulcer. I list a couple of the symptoms that I was told that I should have but in all honesty, I had eaten Singapore noodles and had the farts – and that’s it.
CHAPTER 2 – BOLDLY GOING…
After the initial day off I was referred to a specialist at Homerton hospital in London where I had my first ‘in depth’ examination of the interior of my arse via a very long finger and some lube. I also explain a couple of ways that doctors might examine you for bowel/colon cancer.
CHAPTER 3 – AND SO IT BEGINS
Although still completely unaware that I had anything more serious than an ulcer, I was sent for another internal examination called a Colonoscopy followed up by a CT scan. In this chapter I explain the preparation and the implementation of these techniques, and the bits that they probably don’t have in the medical journals. All I can say is that it was a very weird few days.
CHAPTER 4 – THE BIG DAY. TUES 22ND JULY 2003BC (Before Cancer)
I had been summoned back for another visit to Homerton where I was to get my results back from my Colonoscopy & CT scan. Whilst I was still focusing on the ulcer outcome or at worst a touch of IBS, Mum had, in some prophetic moment, decided that she would come to London to accompany me to the Hospital – That’s when I should have guessed all was not well.
CHAPTER 5 – 22nd JULY 2003AD (After Diagnosis)
So what would you say to the statement – You have cancer?
CHAPTER 6 – THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE
After initially getting a little deep, I pulled myself together and like any responsible person upon hearing that they have arse cancer – I went to the pub via the newsagents to buy some fags, and get pissed. I then had to deal with the hardest part of having cancer, telling your family and friends.
CHAPTER 7 – CANCER: THE EARLY YEARS (Days Really)
I thought that I had coped with the shock of the cancer thing and that at my next appointment things couldn’t get any worse. They did. In this chapter I find out that my only option to save my life was to sacrifice my arse. I didn’t take this too well, so I declined their kind invitation and headed back to the pub.
CHAPTER 8 – THE QUEST BEGINS
Of course the down side to getting pissed after news like this is that in the morning you not only have a hangover but you still have cancer! So it was time to get on and Save My Arse – the only problem being that I didn’t know how. Luckily for me the doctors took me at my word, I wanted options, and so a treatment schedule for Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy was developed for me. I also explain what type of treatment I was offered, I get another finger where the sun don’t shine and I discover something called a ‘Stella Tower’ in the pub.
CHAPTER 9 – FAMILY – PRESENT & FUTURE
We had a Family BBQ where I discussed my Will. It was also farewell do for my brother as he was off to Indonesia to work. I also had to move house and go to hospital three times in a week, in order to preserve future generations of little Davies’s on ice, via a dirty magazine and a plastic beaker.
CHAPTER 10 – THE SUN AND THE MOON
And then out of the blue a possible way to save my arse presented itself, if not by divine intervention, but from a completely unsuspected source. I also start to take the cancer thing a little more seriously and have something called a PICC line inserted into my arm. I also have the pleasure of three young ladies stroke and draw on my bum for a while, which was nice, for my radiotherapy planning.
CHAPTER 11 – MAKE MINE ‘TO GO’
I though that to have chemo you would have to stay in hospital, but this isn’t always the case. I get fitted with a portable infuser and go through the potential side effects of the treatment as well as explaining a little bit about what Chemotherapy is.
CHAPTER 12 – REALITY STRIKES
Pretty much does what it says on the tin – not a great day.
CHAPTER 13 – LET IT BE…
In this chapter I develop strange lergies. I have a close call with a pint of pure orange juice and a hotel toilet in London, and have my first visit to the Lynda McCartney Ward in Liverpool to meet the two men who were going to try to save my arse.
CHAPTER 14 – BOOTS AN’ ALL!
More internal examinations, enemas, an over helpful doctor and a fashion disaster in pale blue.
CHAPTER 15 – PAPA’S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG
I receive my new portable chemo bottle, with complementary blue willy warmer, and I am reminded by my arse that having an Indian take-away whilst receiving chemotherapy for colorectal cancer is not the best idea in the world.
CHAPTER 16 – RADIO GA-GA
In this chapter I undergo my first session of radiotherapy, I go through what some of the potential side effects are and how the radiotherapy is applied. I was happy that it didn’t hurt at all and that I didn’t glow in the night.
CHAPTER 17 – THESE BOOTS WERE MADE FOR WALKING!
After the first couple of weeks, the side effects of the aggressive treatments begin to manifest themselves in weird and rather painful way. I also have my birthday and bid farewell to work.
CHAPTER 18 – PARK LIFE
Three weeks into the treatment and I start to get stir-crazy sitting round the flat. I was interacting with anyone other than the radiotherapists and oncology nurses. I head to the park and get a little down about the world in general.
CHAPTER 19 – AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!
I’m now into the final stretch of the first stages of my treatment – my chemotherapy is having strange effects, my radiotherapy is literally burning the skin off my arse, and I’m being asked about my sex life by the doctors? I also have a moment of crisis due to the pain.
CHAPTER 20 – MIND SET AND MATCH
I have had to pull myself together and finish the London based treatment. The staff and doctors at Barts were great and I say my farewells.
CHAPTER 21: GRAPE EXPECTATIONS
The title pretty much gives the clue to the focus of this chapter. I also come back up north to start my second part of my treatment. I make a fashion mistake at a MRI screening and have a slight disagreement with my Oncologist about where to stick his equipment.
CHAPTER 22 – THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
In this chapter I have my first session of the pioneering radiotherapy called Papillon at the Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. I’m given a rather nasty enema and get introduced to the machine that delivers the Papillon treatment.
CHAPTER 23: HOLE IN MY POCKET
Whilst you would think that having cancer is enough for you to be getting on with, it isn’t. The harsh financial realities and the attitude of some of the financial institutions and local councils beggar belief. This chapter is a bitch about all the red tape & bureaucratic Bull S*** that you have to deal with over and above the cancer and its treatments.
CHAPTER 24: THE POWER OF ONE
There are times, and people that you meet during your life that make you realise how lucky you are. This happens a lot when you spend time in a cancer ward, even if you are there for treatment yourself. You may need a tissue with this chapter, I still do and I was there.
CHAPTER 25: PAPILLON PART DEUX
I’m on my front, bent over with a large metal contraption sticking out of my arse – it must be my second session of Papillon Radiotherapy. It will bring tears to your eyes but not in an emotional way! I also find out whether, after months of treatment, I will qualify for the operation that will save my life and arse.
CHAPTER 26 – TOUCHING CLOTH
Well what can I say? I examine some of the slightly more strange side effects that occur post treatment, that are not in the medical journals. I also prepare for the future and Christmas.
CHAPTER 27: CHRISTMAS 2003 – PARTY POPPERS & PAPER PANTS
I only got through the treatment and the whole experience due to the support and love of my family and friends. It might have been my last Christmas and we were going to have a ball.
CHAPTER 28: CRUNCH TIME!
After months of chemotherapy & radiotherapies. After months of pain and distress, not just for me but my family, it is finally time to head to hospital and get the tumour cut out.
CHAPTER 29: IT WAS NO PIPE DREAM
Success. I woke with a bum, but I also had other unexpected add-ons. In this chapter I go through some of my experiences at the hands of less than sympathetic nurses and the general disaster that was my ward.
CHAPTER 30: 2 STEPS FORWARD, 1 STEP BACK
Whilst the operation was a success I developed an unsuspected complication with my back. I meet Jackie my unbelievably great Macmillan nurse, and kick off at the medical establishment for not listening to me about the pain I was in. I eventually get it sorted and get the all clear.
EPILOGUE: HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MY REAR?
My arse was saved back in 2004 and in this chapter I give a brief synopsis of my life and post-operative treatment between then and now. I also go on holiday, a lot.