Andrew: How my story begins
My story begins in 2015: There was nothing spectacular about my life, I was in good shape and enjoying night life as any young adult of my age. In November I took my blood tests as I was regularly doing at every 6 months. The results were very good and the doctors said to me there are no signals that should worry me.
After the New Years Eve of 2016, I decided to start going to a local gym in order to accumulate some muscular mass as I was weighting 143 lb. only.
In the first month of my subscription (February) I was going 3 times a week and I was intensively exercising. If on the other exercises I was doing OK, running was to me a real burden. As things were going well I decided to further prolong my subscription on March. I started to notice that the color of my skin was turning white. At first it did not sink me in, even if my friends also observed that something was not going right with my health. I continued to go to the gym, but after the first two sessions made in March I was feeling exhausted. Symptoms were getting worse: night sweating, strange sounds in my ear (like I had a cricket), getting up several times over the night. The next day I was awakening and feeling very tired all day long.
That was the moment when I decided that I need to take some investigations. My first step was to the eNT doctor. After a thorough scan, everything appeared to be in order. But she also noticed the pale skin and a sick face so she urged me to get hospitalized as soon as possible for further tests. I had the power to joke: “Common doc, I have nothing serious that could endanger my life. Be serious!”
I did not go to the hospital yet but I made the blood tests. The results were devastating: hemoglobin was only 7 (the minimum is 14) and iron was also very low. It was clear that I had a bleeding in my body!
The very next day I was doing a echography but this scan also revealed nothing. I continued by taking a colonoscopy to the same doctor. This procedure is not that horrible as we are taught that is if you are sedated. The result showed two tumors and I finally understood why I was feeling all the symptoms described above. The doctor took the biopsy but I was not that panicked as I have an optimistic personality (this helped me a lot over my healing period).
Things got worse after this preliminary diagnosis: I was feeling more and more weak, I could barely do any activity. I had to go to the hospital for blood transfusions, iron and vitamins shots that were meant to stabilize me. Things did not go as planned again as my sanguine group is 0 and I have negative RH and blood of such typology was missing from the hospital. Friends but also people I never met in my life started to donate and luckily the very next day I was able to do the blood transfusion in two tranches. I also had an abdominal scan and lungs radiography. I left the hospital on 14th June 2016 with the following conclusions: focal parietal lesions at the level of the check and one-third lower colon ascending. Adjacent abdominal adenopathies.
On the way back home while I was in the car together with my mom I called the doctor. At the other end of the call the doctor said to me in an emphatic voice: You have an carcinoma that in a popular term means cancer.
My mom that was driving started to cry, but I put myself together and shouted at her: “Please be clam! Now that’s the situation, treatment based on tears and suffering does not exist, please change your attitude. Let’s be strong! She did not say anything, she was shocked.
I also did not expect to have cancer but I think the medical staff in the hospital already knew as I remember that a nurse kindly said to me that there are some genetic tests that can be done in Irland. Luckily I had not to go through this alone as also my closest friends, that initially were also stunned, started to support me in every way they could.