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  1.  

    Our very own valued trustee and fellow pseudomyxoma survivor Steve "Bumper" Treweeks shares with us his new found poetry skills - fantastic stuff!!

     

    "The Lodger", by Steve 'Bumper' Treweeks.

    "You've got Cancer" I heard the consultant say.

    "You've got Cancer" he said, and my world turned grey.

    "You've got Cancer" he said, surely that can't be right, I eat well, don't drink or smoke ; exercise; sleep at night.

    "You CAN'T have Cancer!" She said, full of tears "You're so fit and healthy, you've been running for years!"

    "YOU'VE got Cancer?" my friends say, aghast. "They're wrong, they're mistaken, it'll certainly pass"

    "But you look so well, you cannot be sick." But looks can deceive, and illness can trick.

    "Cancer of the appendix? Surely there's no such thing!" But radical surgery's required to win.

    To beat back the sickness.

    To give me some time

    For smelling the roses;

    For drinking the wine.

    It's Pseudomyxoma Peritonei The rarest of Cancers - A sentence to die?

    With every scan It may soon return Our nerves are all frayed - emotions are burned.

    Now three strikes I'm down and still I fight on, With surgery & chemo - It still has not won.

    I shall not lay down! I will not give up!

    Despite all my fears I'll refill my cup.

    To live every day like it is my last

    Love strong and laugh loud, this spectres not passed.

    Though still NED (regardless of 'mets'),

    My running still keeps me ahead - place your bets!

    I'd not bet against me, for as a good fiend once said:

    "When you're put in a box, they'd best screw down the lid".

    It's a matter of time, though I struggle each day,

    It's a fight I can't win, though I battle to stay.

    I let fitness support me, let my body fight back,

    If it's just fighting Cancer then it extends the track.

    I've got Cancer, I know, but it won't make me frown...

    I've a life to be lived, and this WON'T bring me down.

    "You've got Cancer" they'll tell me when again it recurs

    Though that may be in months, it may not be for years.

    It keeps trying to get me so when the next instance comes,

    I'll just look at them calmly,

    Smile... and say...

    "Bring it on!".

     

    Written during my Bumpers ongoing cancer battle, April 3rd 2007 to August 2014 and onwards... (NED - No Evidence of Disease, 'Mets' - metastasis).

    Copyright S.Treweeks01/08/2014

    Steve has suggested that if you like this poem enough to share, how about considering a little donation to our charity??

  2. Sadly, a fellow patient passed away at the North Hampshire Hospital this week.  The lady in question, Bobby, was a 'comper' - someone who likes to enter online voting competitions.  She was also part of an online comper community which has come together to turn this sad passing into a force for good.

    Some of her friends have set up a Facebook event to encourage their fellow compers to vote for Pseudomyxoma Survivor in this month's Direct Debit 'Big Break for Charities' competition with the winning charity being awarded £2000.

    We are humbled by this amazing example of how online communities can change the lives of cancer patients as £2000 is a lot of money for a very small charity like us and will enable us to continue to help those affected by pseudomyxoma peritonei.  The votes for the charity have increased from 140 to over 1000 in just over 48 hours.  There's still a way to go but Pseudomyxoma Survivor is in with a good chance with support such as this.

    Bobby's story has been featured by both her local paper and by the Liberal Democrats for whom she was planning to stand this year.  To show your support, please visit the campaign on Facebook or go here - http://j.mp/1hBBBpz - directly to vote.  Terms and conditions apply.

    Rest in Peace, Bobby.

  3. A pseudomyxoma survivor herself, Jo shares her story on her own blog and has kindly provided our guest blog for today.

    Pseudomyxoma Survivor Jo shares her storyWe were on holiday in Thailand when I noticed that it hurt when I laughed.  When I got home, I thought I'd just eaten too much - my belly was getting bigger.  So I started exercising more, but it didn't go away - in fact, it seemed to be even larger.  And I started feeling sick after meals and it jolted in a weird way when I stepped heavily. But I still felt pretty healthy...

    Pseudomyxoma Survivor Jo shares her storyAfter endless tests and appointments, I was told they were 'looking for cancer' - possibly ovarian or peritoneal. But after my biopsy they told me it was a form of pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP), an incredibly rare cancer originating from the appendix.

    I was admitted to C2 ward at Basingstoke & North Hampshire on August 13th, 2013 for complete cytoreduction and HIPEC¹. My surgery was two days later and took 10.5 hours.  They removed my spleen, appendix, omentum, ovaries, gall bladder, a section of the large intestine and the peritoneal lining.  After surgery the morphine and pain meds really mucked with my head and I experienced hallucinations and paranoia - this was the worst of my experience.  I had five days of intraperitoneal chemo, after which they removed the tubes. I was in hospital for just over three weeks.  It hurt a lot.  The nurses and surgeons were absolutely fantastic and I couldn't have asked for better care.

    How has my experience affected me emotionally and physically?  It is an ongoing process.  Initial shock and terror gave way to dealing with practical matters and concentrating on getting better.  You don't expect to be diagnosed with cancer at 34, especially when you felt pretty healthy beforehand.  I have got used to having had cancer, but future issues such as whether it will return, and the impact it has had on my chances of having a family - I'm still working on these.

    In terms of support, my GP was fantastic and the Specialist Nurses at both Basingstoke and the Churchill in Oxford have been great.  My partner and family have been wonderful.  I also visited the Maggie's centre in Oxford which was useful.  Writing a blog helped keep friends and family updated, and meant I didn't have to go through the whole thing a million times.

    Now, I am six months post-surgery and have two more chemotherapy infusions to go.  Apart from the chemo, I feel pretty well and although still not at peak fitness or health, feel pretty positive about the future.

    My message for others is:

    • PMP is not like other cancers. It doesn't spread in the same way and it is (relatively) slow growing. So don't panic if you don't get treated right away - it's better to have the right treatment than be done quickly.
    • Pseudomyxoma Survivor Jo shares her storyIt will take a long time to feel normal again, but you will get there.
    • No one will have ever heard of Pseudomyxoma - get used to explaining what it is.

    - Jo

    You can follow more of Jo's story on her blog - http://jocancerdiary.wordpress.com/ and more stories from other survivors on our Survivors' Stories page.

    ¹HIPEC - Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy.  Heated chemotherapy, delivered directly into the abdomen, after complete cytoreduction. If the surgeons are able to remove the all the tumours, you will be given a heated chemotherapy drug. This is usually Mitomycin C. This is put directly in your abdomen while you are in theatre and the chemotherapy is left in for 90 minutes. HIPEC will penetrate tumour nodules up to 2.5mm in size. The heat increases cytotoxicity of chemotherapy.