On Cancer

Posted on Jan 06, 2019 into Scribbles

Long time no post. And for a reason as grim as any reader of this can imagine. Do you remember that 23 year old student of Econometrics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam? Well, turns out he had to interrupt his studies after failing the first two exams while waiting for histology results on a colorectal polyp found during a routine and according to his GP “unnecessary” colonoscopy. Why drop it after two failed exams when retakes exist? Well, even though it was first thought to be beningn, it had to be taken out, analyzed as a whole, the colon reconnected and everything healed. Turns out, it actually was a malignant tumor growing in my body 23 years of age, only to burst and kill me before I even turn 30. Owing to a team of highly respected surgeons from the Motol hospital in Prague, I was spared this grave outlook.

After joking with the anastheticians and the subsequent laparoscopic procedure, which took about 90 minutes, I spent a day or two in ICU crying out for painkillers and water. Although they gave me some disgusting lemon flavored cotton swabs I wanted to stab the nurse with, and only helped me phase out after I self administered bleeding bite to my hand for the pain management, I got through it. Back in the room I got admitted, I was relieved to be free from cancer once again and already made the optimistic plans of speedy recovery (as the English say) and run back to the half-loathed Kingdom of Netherlands.

But no. It did not properly grow together. Because that’s apparently what happens in some cases and you can’t really help it. Except for expecting and watch the patients with potentially explosive internal organ. Because my colon did totally burst. And fill my abdomen in all the digestive bacteria. And what more? There was no operating theatre available and barely any surgeon had time or authorisation to conduct an operation, because quotas. You know, how drivers are banned from driving longer than four hours without break? Well, surgeons have these too. And it caused me to have to wait in increasing amounts of pain for hours, most of which I thankfuly don’t remember, since I was unconscious for my body had other business to deal with than seeing and remembering.

When they finally got around to me, I made far worse jokes with anastheticians and they had to calm me down. Waking up in the ICU, I remember pressing charges against nurse who gave me the disgusting lemon swabs again, and the doctor who said he is only allowed to give me the drugs I already have circulating in my system. From others, I remember that a series of phonecalls followed, between the hospital, my mother, and my lovely psychiatrist, who remarked that “He takes buttload of medication on daily basis” and then said “give him clonazepam,” which saved a big part of my sanity. Greatly sedated, I went through next days, which involved a lot of procedures I wish for nobody to go through.

First of all, since the second surgery, my large intestine temporarily leaves my body on the side of my stomach, which means that there is a fabric-covered plastic bag stuck to my side, which gets filled with shit whenever my digestive tract feels like it. This is gonna stay this way for the next couple of months. Or maybe a year…

Then, I had hiccups. No biggie, right? Except for they were taking the immflamation scum from my abdomen through the stomach all the way to my lungs. And so they put this really long thing down my nose to sit in my stomach and prevent it from happening on. And an international consorcium of antibiotics research had to develop suitable strain for me specifically, within hours. Because my lungs had very little time.

Then came lack of potassium. A mineral critical for heart to work. Who knows where did it all go. But they had to put it into my body through a catheter put below by collar bone. And the doctor missed the first attempt. The second was twice as painful. But Yah, I got that sorted.

In the meanwhile, the imflammation in my abdomen needed to be dealt with, so they took me to a radiologist with an ultrasound probe, to see whether my stomach is really full of bloodied liquid full of bacteria. No kidding, it was. And so the wonderful doctor who managed to mess up the catheter job cut open two sutures just to open a hole for all the stuff to pour out. Eww. They had to sedate me, because it felt like I’ll bleed out. I woke up eventually. But the whole is still there even after four weeks. Healing quickly, thank god.

And there was more beyond being transferred to a regular unit. And I am not too excited about recounting all of it here, because while less horrible, more live the memories are. And still traumatic. Only thank god for all the people who came to visit me. My family spending 16 hours a day beside my bed and all that kind of stuff.

And then, after being considered healthy enough for release, I got out. On the christmas eve of 2018. And there was fancy dinner and presents and it was nice, but kinda sad. And everything was sad beyond, and then the train of my mental health, going just by the sustained momentum stopped. And I was suicidal. And I didn’t know why I want to live and if I still actually do. Realized that the tumor may actually have developed from my shitty mental state throughout prior years. Since after Brussels. Well, I didn’t kill myself, maybe because I was just too lazy to do it and would feel bad for all the other people.

I will do something with my life. Probably teach. Get my ass back into service. Play computer games. Have kids with a worthy girl. Have I found her yet? Maybe. That is a story for another whole post. But if you are reading it, don’t take it too personally. I always give it all faith, okay. And Viňas is the best anyway. And the support Niki is always able to provide.

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