You Want To Put That Camera Up My What?


I saw the gastroenterologist on Monday and gave him my list of symptoms that I’d typed up via a Word document. Mr Gastro was most impressed with my graphic descriptions. “Well described!”, he said. I preened a bit.

‘Are you thinking cancer?’, he asked. I answered truthfully, ‘Yes!’.

Mr Gastro then ordered a colonoscopy.

At the mere mention of the word, my bum cheeks involuntarily clenched and my bum-hole snapped shut faster than a Venus Flytrap. You see, I’d consulted Dr Google a few (hundred) times leading up to the appointment so I knew exactly what it entailed.

Mr Gastro told me that he doesn’t think it’s cancer. I told him that while I appreciated that he was trying to put my mind at ease..both my parents had cancer. Dad’s being the aggressive kind which saw him trundling along the conveyor belt in the crematorium within six months of being diagnosed.

He didn’t try and fob me off with IBS. In fact, he never mentioned it. He thinks my symptoms require a closer look and by closer look, it means shoving a camera up my bum.

He proceeded to tell me what he thinks it is. Which is that my bum and stomach are ‘not communicating with each other. Typical, even my insides have social interaction issues!

At this point he told the nurse to make it a combined colonoscopy and gastroscopy. Basically, a camera up the chuff and one down the throat in the same appointment, folks.

If the tests come back clear, he will refer me to a specialist to sort out the ‘communication’ problems.

So I’ve been issued with some preparation (stuff what gives you the shits) and I have to wait a decade for an appointment to come through, as there is apparently a huge waiting list. I’ll probably die of old age before I get one. Or the Tories will have killed off the NHS in which case, I’ll have to flog a kidney to sort my bowels out.

In the meantime, I am tormenting myself with the gloom and doom from off the net…

Colonoscopies aren’t the most pleasant (or dignified) of procedures. You have to eat a special diet two days before the test and then you drink the preparation and wait for the world to fall out of your backside. Not looking forward to that, truth be told, but at least I’ll briefly be able to get into those skinny jeans I bought in a moment of denial last year.

No doubt I’ll be made to wear one of those ridiculous gowns that make you look like a complete twonk. Incidentally, I put one on the wrong way for a gynae examination and ended up flashing my minnie to a corridor full of old people. The nurse frog marched me back into the cubicle before one of them had a coronary.

To say I’m anxious is an understatement of massive proportions. They’ll be no need for that preparation because I’ll have shit myself dry with worry by then.

I’ve had procedures done before. I’ve been under GA twice and had umpteen people poking around in my insides. I’ve had an emergency C section and given birth TWICE, all without fear but now I’m a wimp and I blame the menopause because when my oestrogen buggered off, so did my bottle!

A colonoscopy involves a thin flexible tube being coaxed around the bowel. It allows them to see what’s what and you can watch it on the monitor if you wish…

Er, no ta.

I’d rather watch the box set of Geordie Shore, without sedation.

It can find ulcers, polyps, inflammation and tumors. It is the most effective way to diagnose cancer of the bowel.

My Googling sessions have advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages are the numerous people who say ‘colonoscopy? Walk in the park! Didn’t even know they’d been in!’ He he.

The disadvantages are the people who, for whatever reason, have had the experience from hell and feel the need to put the fear of God into everybody else.

There will always be these stories, not just to do with colonoscopies, but with most things. There are risks with this procedure but there are risks with all procedures. My dad’s misdiagnosis’s shook my faith in doctors but maybe I should focus instead on the fact that they probably saved the life of my youngest son who had to be born via emergency C section because I was bleeding internally, my eldest who had a testicular torsion and my middle son who was hospitalised as a baby with gastroenteritis. Mum’s cancer was caught early. My dad was extremely unlucky but I do have more to be thankful for than not.

I rationalise that given my symptoms, it’s probably wise to go through with it. Chances are it’s not anything sinister but leaving it to chance isn’t a risk I should be taking given my family history.

So I have to find a way to keep myself relatively calm over the next few months until it’s all over. My coping mechanism is to find the humour in the situation. Tell a few crap jokes. (ha ha) Also, I make no apologies for talking about matters of the arse because I think that we don’t talk about it enough. We get embarrassed about bum stuff and that costs time and ultimately, lives.

If you haven’t already guessed, I’m bricking it, and I’ll probably have talked myself out of doing it by the time the appointment comes. So I need people to tell me to stop being such a silly cow about it.

I’ll tell myself it will all be OK. I’ll wear the silly pants and try not to die of embarrassment when the air that’s been pumped into my bowels explodes in the consultant’s face. Another perk..

When I saw Sara’s (Mumturnedmom) prompt was calm, it reminded me that I must try to be as calm as possible or I’ll end up running out of the hospital still wearing my paper pants and flashers gown.

Going for an Eartha Kitt ~ Jim Royle


Life is a Highway


From the day we are born, we’re on a journey. All of us are headed to the same destination (aka Death De Mar) but we each take different routes along the way.

Throughout our travels, we encounter challenges. We all experience love, joy and happiness as well as sadness, tragedy and hopelessness. Life can be good and a total bitch in equal measure.

Sometimes the road is bumpy as hell (with annoying roadworks and potholes) and we feel frustrated like when we get stuck behind a tractor for an eternity (or Stop/Go man takes the piss) and sometimes it’s smooth and enjoyable. In my experience, the moment that I acknowledge happiness, life throws down a stinger.

The ‘Big C’ became part of my journey when Dad was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer, on my birthday as it goes.. You could say that his life choices of slumming it at the ‘Greasy Spoon’ cafe (despite my mother’s nagging) and smoking were a contributing factor in his illness. His choice not to act on his early symptoms, combined with him being misdiagnosed twice, cost him his life and my insistence that Mum saw her GP on her mentioning a bloated tummy and brown discharge (at the age of 65) probably saved hers.

Cancer made short work of my dad but I liken my mum’s experience to swatting an irritating fly. In her case, one well aimed whack got the bastard and she lived for another six years to die of something completely unrelated. Mother 1 Cancer 0.

Our journeys aren’t just about us.

As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination.

Cancer has entered my life once again but this time it’s my friend who is suffering from this horrendous disease. I haven’t known her long but our boys play together so we’ve become friends. She has advanced cancer but If you saw her you wouldn’t imagine she’s ill. She looks well. She’s certainly fitter than me and by her own admission, she doesn’t even feel ill. However, the scans tell a different story…

I have been around cancer. I’ve experienced the effects of cancer but I don’t know how it feels to have it. Nobody can know unless it happens to them.

My friend is a wonderful lady. By her own admission, she chooses to be positive. Despite the indifferent attitude of the cancer specialists, she’s giving it a run for it’s money and good on her, I say.

She told me that some days she finds it hard to get out of bed to face the day, which is totally understandable. So I made her a card with a quote which reflects this along with her desire to be positive.

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.

I am deeply sorry she’s going through this. I can’t stop this from happening to her but what I can do is be there for her for support. Nobody should ever have to go through this alone. Cancer is an incredibly difficult journey to to be witness to so one can only imagine how it feels to be living it.

Most of us have times in our life when we struggle to face the day, for whatever reason. I’ve got lost a few times and questioned what it’s all about but ultimately, all roads of thought lead back to the fruits of my womb. My body resembles a clapped old three wheeler (think Trotter van) but I look at my boys and know it’s all been worth it.

My latest run in with one of life’s proverbial potholes resulted in me having to assume the ‘On your side, bend your legs and face the wall, dear’ position while my GP swiped her index finger around my rear-end. No doubt I’ll end up having a camera up it (oh-the-joy) before the year’s out  but as long as it gives me peace of mind that my botty probs are simply an IBS flare up or yet another menopausal perk, I can cope with a bit of bum invasion. Dignity, me dears, went out the window the day I went into labour. These days, ‘dignity’ is a song by Deacon Blue!

Nobody’s journey will be free from heartache. Bad things happen but It’s what we learn from the experience that matters. Reading stories about the Holocaust has taught me that hope can exist even in the most horrific of circumstances. Our freedom to choose our own attitude throughout any given circumstance is something that nobody can take away from us. Nobody can make us feel bad about ourselves without our permission!

People enter our lives and the journey changes direction. It’s like a Sat-Nav that keeps re-calculating. However, in the journey of life, there isn’t a reverse gear. We don’t get to go back and do things differently. We can only learn from our mistakes and move forwards. Maybe if we knew how our lives will pan out, we’d be too scared to live them? All I know is that I’ve made it to almost 45 years of age so far and count myself lucky. The journey so far has been full of tears and laughter and with each sharp bend of the road, I’ve learned a little bit more about life.

There are a few more miles left in this ol’ jalopy yet (despite a biological age of 102) and I’d like to think I’ll manage a cheeky sideways skid when it’s ‘destination reached’ aka, the big scrap yard in the sky. Knowing my luck, I’ll be towed in on the back of a recovery truck but a girl can dream, eh?

Until then, it’s on with the ride..

I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may. ~ Leonard Nimoy


Mesothelioma – Taking a Moment For Meso


Have you ever heard of mesothelioma?

I hadn’t until a few days ago when a lovely chap by the name of Cameron St. James read this post and asked me if I’d take part in a campaign to spread awareness about it.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. In simple terms, it’s cancer of the membrane which covers the surface of most of our body’s organs.

There are two main types –  pleural mesothelioma (chest) and peritoneal mesothelioma (abdomen).

Facts and Stats

  • Asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma.
  • More than 2,500 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma in the UK each year (between 2000 and 3000 in the United States)
  • It usually takes between 20 – 50 years for the symptoms to appear.
  • Men are more likely to be diagnosed with this cancer than women. This is because, at the height of exposure to asbestos, most of the workforce were men.
  • Mesothelioma can be caused by secondary exposure to asbestos fibres – for example – bringing dust home on their clothing.

Symptoms include rapid weight loss, shortness of breath, pain in the lower back or the side of the chest, high temperatures, sweating, a persistent cough and sickness. Also a swollen tummy, tummy pain and changes to bowel habits with peritoneal mesothelioma

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous material that was a popular building material  from the 1950’s and was used regularly until 1999 when it was banned in the UK.

Surprisingly, the United States still hasn’t banned asbestos outright.

Where Can it be Found?

It can be found in many buildings, including schools, hospitals and homes. Being highly heat resistant, it was widely used in insulation and fire proofing – being used in products such as ceiling tiles, boilers, garage roof tiles etc. as well as being used as a bonding agent in plaster and artex.

What’s The Danger?

Asbestos materials which are in good condition are safe until disturbed.

Working on or near damaged asbestos material could increase your chances of developing an asbestos related disease.

When asbestos is disturbed and fibres are breathed in, they may get trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time. It takes many years for the disease to develop – this is why it’s known as the silent killer.

There are other factors involved such as how much exposure to the asbestos, for how long and to which kind.

Asbestos and Health Regulations

The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 states that owners of buildings such as factories, schools and hospitals have a duty to manage asbestos by removing it if possible or making sure that it doesn’t get damaged. Any employer in an industry where coming into contact with asbestos is a possibility, such as construction, must give annual training to employees who are at risk.

Heather Von St. James’s father worked in the construction industry and the exposure to the asbestos dust that he brought home on his clothing is how she came to be diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at 36 years of age – just a few months after the birth of her first child, Lily.

She was given 15 months to live.

In 2006, Heather underwent extensive surgery and later that year was given the all clear.

Heather describes herself as a cancer survivor and her story is special because mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer. Historically, the prognosis hasn’t been great but survival rates are increasing and early detection plays a vital role in improving it.

What hits you about this amazing lady is how positive she is and it’s no wonder that she has become a research funding advocate and inspirational speaker for mesothelioma and asbestos disease awareness.

Not everybody is as lucky as Heather – we have a long way to go but with awareness we will be able to see more success stories like hers.

Up yours, Cancer!!

Heather’s story

Awareness Saves Lives

It isn’t just construction workers and other professionals who need to be aware of the dangers of asbestos.. the dangers can be in our own homes, especially in houses built before 2000 so it’s important to read up on the facts before undertaking DIY projects. Not sure? – get an expert in. You can’t put a price on your health or that of your family.

I have read many blog posts in the last few days and discovered a community of bloggers or ‘mesowarriors’ who are helping to raise awareness for this preventable cancer.

When I agreed to help Cameron, I knew nothing about the disease and very little about asbestos aside the word itself putting the shits up people but that’s the whole point of the exercise – to educate.

I’d like to thank Cameron for giving me the opportunity to do something worthwhile with my little corner of cyber space and to wish him and his beautiful family all the very best for the future.


With hope, the odds don’t matter ~ Heather Von St. James

Links of interest

Image of Cameron, Lily and Heather used with permission.

Disclaimer Gubbins

All content provided on this post is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information in this post or found by following any link attached to it.

Image Credit



with hope, the odds don’t matter.

Heather Von St. James – Mesothelioma Survivor

– See more at:





Dad, His Prostate Cancer and Me.


Why is that the sun always seems to shine when we get the worst news?

My dad had been suffering from horrendous back pain for months. His GP initially diagnosed a frozen shoulder and prescribed painkillers but the pain got worse and the painkillers weren’t touching it. His GP then decided it must be a slipped disc and Dad was sent to a specialist who ran some tests..

One beautiful summers day – we got the results.

I will never forget that day because it was also my 26th birthday.

I drove Mum and Dad to the hospital. We were laughing and joking in the waiting room but in a short time it would all change and our lives would be turned upside down.


That dreaded word.

‘Some bad news I’m afraid.. it’s cancer!’

With the consultant’s words echoing in our ears we walked out into the corridor in a state of shock and disbelief.

My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was referred to the relative consultant who decided to treat his cancer with hormones.

Unfortunately it was a case of ‘too little too late’ as the cancer was already spreading into his bones, which explained the back pain. And it was aggressive. So aggressive that from diagnosis to death took just 6 months.

My didn’t talk about illness. He was old school. If he was aware of a problem with his waterworks in the early stages, he didn’t talk about it but I do remember him becoming extremely agitated one day when we were out in the car because he suddenly needed to wee. This was in the previous summer. The signs were there.

Prostate Cancer – The Facts

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK with over 40.000 men being diagnosed each year.
  • It usually develops slowly.
  • Symptoms often only become apparent when the prostate is large enough to affect the Urethra…at this point symptoms like an increased need to wee, straining while urinating and a feeling that the bladder hasn’t emptied properly.

These symptoms don’t necessarily mean it’s cancer – it can be due to other things like an enlarged prostate.

Prostate Cancer – The Causes

  • Age – most cases are in men 50+.
  • It’s more common in men of African descent.
  • Men who have father’s or brothers with prostate cancer have a slightly higher risk.
  • Men who exercise are at lower risk of developing it…not to mention other health problems!
  • Diet – There is evidence to suggest that foods rich in calcium, burnt food, red meat, excessive alcohol and saturated fat may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

Dad was one of the unlucky ones. A combination of pissing about (no pun intended) with diagnosis’s and his old fashioned attitude towards his own health cut his life short at 58 years of age.


The cancer aged him in that way that sickness ages people but he was destined never to reach old age and even now  it makes me feel incredibly sad to be without him.

He faced this bastard of a disease with the same outlook that he’d had all his life – “It’ll be OK”.

But it wasn’t going to be OK.

How could it ever be OK?

My dad was one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet. His eyes twinkled and he’d a full on belly laugh – it was infectious!

I loved his laugh.

I loved him.

My eldest son was reminiscing about his grandad the other day and said that he could remember his wonderful laugh. That’s a great thing to be remembered for isn’t it?

And my dad laughed a lot, even with cancer rampaging through his body. It was his way of coping. It was his way of saying, “Sod you, Cancer!” He took the disease on but he was never going to win the battle.

But cancer could only take his body because the spark, which was my Dad, remained until the end.

Sadly, my story is one of loss but yours doesn’t have to be.

I have written this post in the hope that it will help to spread awareness of this type of cancer.

Be cancer aware because it may save your life or the life of someone you love.

Thank you for reading.

Some Useful Links

Photo Image

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.” – Emory Austin