A check-up saved my arse
Mark Davies put it down to a bit of an arse problem. It turned out to be a bit of bowel cancer, the third most common cancer in the UK where 1,000 people are diagnosed every single day. Mark was just 31.
Have you ever had, how can I put this… a bit of a dodgy arse? Maybe a bit of food poisoning or a moody take-away? Have you ever had the odd stomach cramp? Trapped wind perhaps or maybe the problem has been that the wind was far from being trapped (if you know what I mean)?
Of course you have; as have we all, and thought nothing of it, right? I know that I have on several occasions. So, when I got a bit of gastric trouble back in the summer of 2003 at the age of just 31, I thought that it was the less than perfect take-away that had set me off the night before; or at worst a stomach ulcer gained through over-working, poor diet and stress.
You can imagine the surprise I got when, after having this bit of a dodgy stomach, and to be fair, quite a bad case of stinging ring (post Singapore noodles) investigated, I was told that I had cancer of the colon.
At the time of this bombshell I was the owner of a small sales company, raising money for charities. I was working ten to twelve hours a day; I would invariably try to get to the pub for a couple of beers most nights.
The closest I got to fruit and veg was extra salad on my kebab.
I was 31, a little overweight, but not huge, so didn't worry about things like being uber-healthy and fit. Cancer didn't even register upon my consciousness. I did however, have quite bad stomach ache that morning, and an occasional little bit of blood spotting on the loo roll, but in all reality, I was actually throwing a sickie, so after popping to the GP, I thought nothing of it.
My GP sent me to a specialist with a very long index finger, which was a bit of shock too, and then they sent me for a colonoscopy (a type of arsecam) and CT scan — all whilst I still had no idea there was anything wrong with me. Less than two months after going to see my local GP, (post Singapore noodles, I was sat in front of three worried looking doctors being told that I had cancer of the colorectal region and that I would have to have my entire arse removed — not good!
Being told that I had cancer was quite a surreal experience for me. The only experience that I'd had of that situation was via the cancer ads on TV and to be honest I never gave them a second thought, even though it is predicted that 1 in 3 of us would get some form of the disease.
Even being told wasn't an issue for me: I just said, 'Ok, so what do we do about it?' I never believed I was going to die; it was just another thing to get on and deal with as far as I was concerned, and moaning wasn't going to change the situation.
But being told that I was going to have my bum removed was something that I had an issue with!
My family and girlfriend were unbelievable. They didn't panic, they just followed my lead and if I was up they'd be too, and if I was down they'd let me be.
Eventually another treatment presented itself via a friend of my Mum, which would not only save my life but my arse as well, which was nice. At the time it was a new surgical treatment called Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) and a direct form of radiotherapy called Papillon.
I went through two months of continuous, traditional, wide beam radiotherapy and chemotherapy before I could even qualify for the treatments. I suffered everything from mouth ulcers and blood blisters on my hands and feet, through to the skin on my entire lower regions being burnt black and cracking. Only then could I receive the TEM and Papillon treatments due to my original tumour being in a tricky position, right on the edge of the sphincter muscle, and being well developed.
I was given just over 12 months to live if I did nothing.
The treatment and operation were both a success thanks to the fast thinking and acting members of hospitals both in London and the North West. They worked together, treating me both with conventional and cutting-edge treatments to make sure that my bum and I survived. Now four years after being operated on I am clear, and aside from the fact that I do fart quite a lot (or at least say I've got an excuse), I'm completely fine.
The only advice I could give to anyone who is at all worried about themselves or a friend or family member is that 'it is better to check and be wrong than not check and be dead!'
Page created on April 2nd, 2009
Page updated on August 25th, 2010