My Name is Chris Livett
I’ve been asked many times since March ’17, what my symptoms were that prompted me to go and see my GP. The answer is, hardly any!
The previous September I had breakdown and was prescribed Sertraline antidepressant. These really helped get control of my depression and anxiety, but they had the side effect of making me go to the toilet 8 to 10 times a day. It got to the point of being ridiculous, but looking back, I don’t half miss having a nice sit on the loo with phone in hand.
One day I noticed a lot of blood in the toilet which was a tad concerning to say the least. Being a typical bloke I passed it off as something benign like irritable bowel, or dodgy food or something like that. But with the frequency I’d been going I figured it may be related to the antidepressants, so decided to make an appointment to see my GP.
After explaining the symptoms she said she would need to examine me. “Oh crap!” I thought to myself as I got up on the bed, lowered my pants and assumed the foetal position whilst I heard the snap of a surgical glove, and squelchy fart of lube being pumped. Now I’m not sure if she used one finger, two or her whole bloomin arm, but she certainly had a good ol’ rummage around! Seriously though chaps, If in doubt, get checked Out!!!
Once sat back down (I was thankful for a comfy seat) she said that she felt something she was very concerned about and that she wanted me to go for a colonoscopy.
After my GP had booked my colonoscopy, she told me she suspected what she felt was possibly cancer. I had to have 6 weeks of daily radiochemotherapy followed by surgery.
The radiochemotherpy didn’t initially affect me, but as it progressed I suffered with severe fatigue, nausea and extreme rectal pain. These symptoms continued with the pain getting worse 10-12 weeks post completion. I had a total pelvic Exenteration and a panproctolectomy.
The greatest side effect was pain and infections as my perrineal wound healed. This was problematic due to the tissue damage from the radiotherapy. I’ve had to live with a very painful open wound for 7 months. The constant dressing leaks and malodours led to depression and not wanting to go out as I would get lots of comments regarding the smell
Life changing is a phrase I feel, has negative connotations. My life has changed, it’s true. I mean, I poop and pee slightly differently, I cant enjoy letting off a ripper of a fart anymore, and if I ever get sent to jail I’ll be a challenge to some of my cell Mates! But overall it has been “Life Affirming”.
I’m more determined to appreciate what I have. I’m more determined to not dwell on or feel guilty about the past; Or worry about and fear the future. Instead I’m going to enjoy my family, friends and live for the present. I’m slowly but surely getting back to doing the things I did before I was diagnosed and received treatment. I’m back to riding my motorbike, doing exercise and as of this Saturday, playing rugby!