My name is Patricia Paling. I'm 73 years old, have a daughter and son, four grandchildren and live with my husband in Derby.
It was about five years ago when I was sent a bowel cancer testing kit in the post by the local hospital who were carrying out a screening programme. I'd been having some problems going to the toilet so thought I'd better reply and send a sample back for testing. This is how I found out I had bowel cancer.
This was the start of my treatment journey. I was put on a course of radiotherapy but after about four weeks I started to become sick. I was taken to hospital where the doctors removed the cancer and gave me a stoma. I was pleased with the result as I left hospital cancer free.
This lasted for about 18 months. Following a routine hospital test I was told that the cancer had come back but this time in my liver. I felt normal and had no symptoms so was lucky that it was picked up as early as it was.
I was put on chemotherapy and a biological drug. The biological drug was not routinely available on the NHS so I paid for this privately. These treatments worked well but for a limited period of time.
Following this I was fortunate enough to be the first female in the East Midlands to be given SIR-Spheres. I also paid for this treatment from my savings as at the time it was not available on the NHS. I was just pleased to have anything that would help.
After having the SIR-Spheres I felt that I could do anything and became really active again. I was able to do lots of things I couldn't previously and didn't get tired. I really enjoy walking and was able to go on more walks. My hair also grew back after the chemotherapy. My cancer treatment didn't hold me back at all!
In my follow-up visits to the hospital I was told that the tumours could not be removed, even though I'd had a good response to treatment. This was disappointing as I had read that some patients had been cured following surgery after SIR-Spheres treatment.
I had seven months of good life when I didn't have to take any treatment and where I just felt normal again. However, the liver tumours started to grow back so I started back on chemotherapy. My doctor is now discussing the option of a second course of SIR-Spheres but this all depends if my liver is healthy enough to have the procedure.
What's important to me is to be well and normal. I've managed to be active for periods of time while on treatment which has meant that I can do more things with my family including going on several holidays. I'm trying to carry on as normal but it's now got to a point where I'm not feeling as well as I did.
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