I Named My Cancer “Harry” – Now Renamed to “Gone”

I Named My Cancer “Harry” – Now Renamed to “Gone”

A Message From Ros:

Where do I start? My journey started when I got told “sorry: it’s bad news. You have a bowel cancer.” My attention was caught in a way I had not been expecting.

“I decided to love ‘Harry’ for what it has shown me as being part of my journey and the awakening to new lessons each day.”
I do want to take a few steps back first to describe the events that led to me being at the hospital for an endoscopy/colonoscopy, in November of 2014. Around 5 years ago I received a bowel screening kit, because I had attained the grand age of 50 (when it gets sent out free)! Duly tried to do the test correctly and buggered it up. I didn’t follow-up fully with getting a replacement kit. I did ring but got put on hold and I suppose you can guess that is was the end of it.

A further 5 years onwards aRossnd I began to get some itchiness and irritations. I went to see my GP to see what to do about it. Seeing a new doctor and confirmed that it was something less severe. It was the over-the-counter creams to try and see if there would be any relief. No guarantees! They sort of worked and so it sort of went away! I continued to be a part of family events, with the son who became a new daddy getting married only 2 weeks before my youngest daughter did. Very busy!

However, something began happening again. A few more visits to my doctor with some blood tests thrown in and then a scan! An appointment was made to see a specialist to have an endoscopy / colonoscopy performed and, from there, to see if there were polyps further in the bowel. That’s where we come into the story at the Hospital, 2 days after my daughter’s wedding.

My dad had gone through a colonoscopy, only 2 weeks before, and his was all clear. My eldest daughter happened to mention that she had just recently had a colonoscopy (no, she didn’t tell me she was going to have one done), because she had 5 out of the 8 symptoms for possible bowel cancer. She was also cleared! I knew what to expect and about the stuff I had to ingest to clear the system in readiness. It was just something I had to get done. If there were polyps, they could be removed: problem solved, not a worry. I wasn’t even nervous! I’ve had general anaesthesia before, without problems, and it was only going to take around an hour.

All prepped and ready to be wheeled into the theatre for an easy procedure…and it was. As I came out of the anaesthesia afterwards, the doctor was there to let me know the news. As he handed me the photo of the tumour saying, “sorry it’s bad news, you have a bowel cancer,” I felt only the shock of it for my partner. He wasn’t in the recovery room with me, at the time. My first thoughts were around the ‘fact’ that I have a tumour in my body. Hmmm…well, to get it out! I had already named it “Harry” the bowel cancer.

The nurses were wonderful! There was a lot going through my mind in such a short time. I did not shed any tears or feel sorry for myself! Now to tell my partner…and the family. I couldn’t tell the newly married daughter and her husband: they had left on their honeymoon, that very morning! There was no way I was going to ruin their honeymoon with that sort of news. My decision was made. My parents, siblings and other children were told, with clear instructions to tell no-one else until the honeymooners were back and I had let them know myself. 

“I was so grateful about being alive and in a free country with such great medical treatment.”

Then came the follow-up appointments with the recommended surgeon, scans to take to him, and a date was set for the operation to remove “Harry.” Expectations were that it would be a straightforward procedure. 9 days from “Harry” being discovered to saying goodbye. What a ride! I refused to “put up a fight” against this cancer because, to me, that is energy I did’t intend to spend. I decided to love “Harry” for what it has shown me as being part of my journey and the awakening to new lessons each day. “Harry” had spent possibly 5 – 10 years silently growing in the realms of my bowel, loving my body enough to keep growing. I could certainly love it back enough to say goodbye! “Harry” had been revealed and action taken to have it removed.

Now renamed to “Gone,” I consider myself to be cancer free! After the surgery, I did have a tear or two. Not for long though, because I was so grateful about being alive and in a free country with such great medical treatment and absolutely so grateful that I had kept up with my private health cover! I have been through a bit now and I’m only a couple months past the operation. What got me through the pain and post-op “stuff” was Reiki and self-hypnosis.

That is what I did for me…and I keep loving me!

See more of Ross’ story on her blog.

Banner image by Rachel Kramer, used under CC. Body image courtesy of Ross.

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