In November 2001, at the age of 65, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I felt numb and shocked but also angry as a few years earlier at the age of 61, with the same sort of symptoms, I was diagnosed with IBS by another consultant.
My doctor this time was a Mr Hershman and he listened and was very sympathetic and said “we go on from here”. Mr Hershman, who worked with a consultant oncologist called Dr Sun Myint, explained that my cancer was in an awkward position in my bowel and consequently I would require chemo and radiotherapy with the possibility of Key-hole or a major surgery requiring a permanent colostomy.
I fell into couple of weeks of depression and negativity which was followed by severe pains in my stomach which hospitalised me for 12 days at the Royal in Liverpool. After an antibiotic drip and lots of scans the pain finally abated enough for me to return home. My attitude became a lot better thanks to the support of my husband and friends.
From here I went on to have loads more consultations, even with a stoma nurses as that is how my options looked at the time. The treatment started in January 2002 with 5 weeks of chemotherapy and radiotherapy at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology. I had seen Dr Myint but at that time my tumour was a T3 and too large for the Papillon treatment as this was my only possible alternative. I had my consultation with Mr Hershman and Dr Myint in March 2002 and both of them were overjoyed that my tumour had shrunk so much. With the good news my husband joined us and we discussed new options that were now available which included a keyhole surgery and Papillon was now a treatment which could also be considered. Papillon treatment was not the standard treatment and they carefully explained the Dr Myint was the only consultant in the UK undertaking the treatment at that time. He had a success rate of over 85% of no return of the cancer within 5 years. So Mr Hershman and Dr Myint, two caring and understanding men who were easy to talk to, answered all mine and my husband’s questions – spending a great deal of time discussing the best possible treatment for me. At no time did I feel pressured to accept Papillon treatment as the only option. My thoughts that I didn’t want a colostomy bag were clear, and so Papillon was the treatment for me.
On 16th April 2002, at the Clatterbridge Centre of Oncology, Dr Myint administered my first Papillon treatment in which a rod was inserted into my anus to deal with the tumour directly with no pain and very little discomfort. On the 26th April I had another consultation with Dr.Myint and the tumour had gone completely. I was elated. My Husband was so pleased and impressed he decided to make a donation to Dr. S Myint’s research (in lieu of the holiday that we didn’t have that year). I had another follow up consultation with both Mr Hershman and Dr. Myint were a camera was once more inserted to once more confirm that the tumour had gone – I was made to understand that should the tumour return I would have surgery and a colostomy. That was 9 years ago and from then to now I have seen Dr Myint and Mr Hershman regularly, a close eye is being kept on my progress at all times.
My husband and I are so grateful to these wonderful men; I can’t speak too highly of their bedside manner and approachability. At no time did I feel pushed into taking any procedure including Papillon. My N.H.S. treatment has been remarkable and I will be eternally grateful to Dr.Myint and Mr Hershman and I hope Dr.Myint’s research has even more success in the future.