At the end of November 2014, I had a routine colonoscopy as there has been cancer of the intestine in my family (my grandfather died of it when my mum was 15) and my mother had polyps removed on a regular basis.
This wasn’t my first screening, I had already been at the age of 41, when I was given the all clear and told to come back in 10 years’ time. So I didn’t think it would be any different this time, just a routine check.
Only it didn’t go as planned, and the doctor found a carcinoid tumour in my small intestine, very close to my appendix. I hadn’t experienced any symptoms, this was pure coincidence. My doctor said to act aggressively and advised a quick removal.
A week later, having just received the results of the biopsy, a CT scan and an octreoscan showed that it hadn’t spread and I was booked for surgery 3 weeks later. The surgeon removed about 10 cm each of the small and large intestines and just glued them back together.
He operated in the early hours and I enjoyed a light dinner the same evening! I was able to leave much sooner than planned, after only 3 days, and didn’t have to cancel my skiing vacation at the end of February.
Out of 27 lymph nodes, 5 had microscopic traces but other than surgery I didn’t need any treatment. Today I am being checked every 6 months, blood tests, 24 hour urine test and a CT scan, probably for the next 10-15 years.
I am aware that it could reappear, in my liver this time, but remain very upbeat.
I am so incredibly lucky to live in a country (Switzerland) with the most amazing health system. Even though it is very expensive (it is compulsory and represents quite a large percentage of your salary), everyone is treated the same way. You can chose to pay for additional insurance if you want natural medicine etc. but otherwise everyone is in the same boat. As there are so many clinics and medical facilities, there is hardly any waiting list. I had my first CT scan the very next day of my biopsy results and surgery only 3 weeks later. I am being checked thoroughly every 6 months and know that I’m in very good hands.
I am feeling very grateful and blessed!