Too Upbeat for Cancer - Detailing A Rubbish Year And A Bit

Chapter 1 - The Day My Bum Fell Out


It didn't really fall out, it's just a catchy title. Sorry if I misled you into coming here. But I promise to cover my bottom at the end of this post. If you like you can read that bit first then come back here. I'll wait.

Done? Good. There's a few reasons for writing this blog. Firstly, my Facebook posts were meant to keep my friends and colleagues updated, but that ended up creating more questions asking for detail rather than oblique comments and chuckles. Secondly, being the youngest of three brothers, I'm an inveterate show off, and constantly crave attention, like a pathetic performing monkey hoping for scraps of your attention. Imagine me wearing a fez and clanging cymbals. Lastly, and most importantly, it's because of this comment 5 different doctors told me in various ways - "it won't be cancer. You're too young for that". Bullshit. You're never too young for any illness. If you take anything from this blog (other than an even greater love for me) it's to be aware of changes in your body and keep checking, and to be persistent if not satisfied with the answers. It might just save your life.

So, I began suffering from excess windypops in October. It wasn't a big deal, I'd just do them near likely culprits at work and prance off tittering internally. Or Shawshank them gently round my store. Or blame them on my two year old. You get the idea. But then I started getting stomach pains in the mornings and having to go to the loo 6-7 times before the urge had gone. Worst of all though - I KEPT FALLING ASLEEP AT THE CINEMA. I missed sections of Argo, Life of Pi, 45 minutes of the Hobbit in IMAX. I'd only wake up when I'd make that old man sleeping sound (y'know, like a Walrus being goosed) of 'MUH!' and wake myself up and terrify the punters. Those that know me well enough know that Boardman don't sleep in films. So I did what any relatively healthy, relatively young man does and buried my head in the sand. I had a few friends who suffered from IBS so I cut out bread and wheat and fizzy drinks from my diet, which helped a bit. Problem solved. Clever old me. CLEVER OLD ME. CLEVER. OLD. ME.

But through Christmas the pain got worse and my poo got weirder and I got sleepier. I tried not to tell my wife so as not to worry her (clever old me). And then one day, in an attempt to be middle class, I did a poo in John Lewis. Not like in the middle of haberdashery. They have toilets. I'm not an animal. And there was a sign on the toilet door detailing symptoms of bowel cancer. I had them all except for 'Being Over 50' (which is key. That seemed to be the perfect excuse for me not to be properly tested). But it was enough to see the doctor and get a blood test. Soon enough, a letter came back asking me to make an appointment to discuss. That's fine, probably need to eat more cabbage is what they'll say. It turned out my blood test was fine, I just had a raised CRP (marker of infection) and probably had a bug so needed to re-do the test. Hooray!

I hadn't, however, realised the gravity of the situation until I got back to Kerry and she burst into tears of relief at the news. She knew what the symptoms meant and had feared the worst. This would not be the last time. Mrs Nicky's medical smarts have saved me from disaster dozens of times.

Interesting aside: When she was dropping me off for the initial blood test Ethan decided to jet an ocean of vomit across himself, the back seat of the car, and, I think, Jupiter. It was an ocean of yak. I've never seen the likes of it before or since, and hope I never will.

But let's skip forward to March 8th, 2013. Things went slowly as I inexplicably threw away my original blood test form at Victoria station (best not too ask - I was unwell) and NHS non-urgent blood tests aren't known for their speed. I grew progressively more tired, and the pain got worse. I was getting worried. Helpfully, my bottom was more than willing to jog things along.

I waved Kerry and Ethan goodbye (they were off to Cambridge to visit our friend Michelle for the day) and urgently needed to do a poo. My backside obliged and there was streaks of blood in it. But I was late for work, it was too scary to comprehend, I dashed off..

Upon getting to work I immediately got to business and tried not to get too het up at a grumpy customer e-mail. Within minutes I had an irresistible urge to go to the toilet. As irresistible an urge as Piers Morgan has to be an utter cock. So I dashed to the toilet and unleashed what can only be described as an almighty flagon of blood. Not a streak, but it was as if several burly men had come in with hoses of blood and sprayed down the bowl for an hour. If I had anything left I'd have probably shit myself, but instead I went into what I presume was a state of shock.

I then did what any sensible person would do and went back to work.

This lasted about 5 minutes until Ben and Marcus (my two colleagues in the office at the time) astutely observed that I was sweating and shaking uncontrollably and had gone translucent. They wisely suggested I get some air.

I work in a large mall and presumably had enough basic motor function to perambulate myself on autopilot to an outside seating area where I could sweat and exercise my sphincter control peacefully in the rain. But I needed to go again. The closest toilets were about 50 metres way. I COULD DO THIS.

I couldn't do it.

I made it about 15 metres before I had my second ever incident of being pretty certain I was going to die (the first was being denied a break in my crappy McDonalds job when 16. I was so exhausted I nearly collapsed directly on the grill. In fairness if that had happened they'd have probably just shrugged and served me up in a delicious sesame seed bun). Everything went very dark and distant and my legs warned me they maybe had a few seconds left before I went down like an old unserviced lift. Not wanting to alarm the patrons of Loch Fyne (they'd paid enough for their overpriced kippers) I made it to the currently closed Byron Burger opposite. I think some lizard part of my brain felt it more appropriate that a dead fat bloke should be slumped outside Byron. Poetic, even.

I made it and slowly came to my senses semi-conscious against their doors. Like the insensitive arsehole I am I'd semi-blocked a walkway and about a dozen shoppers had to step over my legs. Hopefully I didn't spoil their day out too much. If I did, I apologise.

There I lay, terrified, bum ring working overtime, partly out of it, wondering what the hell this meant, and how to get help.....

COMING SOON: Chapter 2 - You Want To Stick That WHERE?!

Chapter 2 Part I - Your Want To Stick That Where?! »

comments powered by Disqus