- Name: SH
- Diagnosis: Colon Cancer
- Staging: 1
- 1st Symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
I am SH, an Italian based in Dubai, and a strong colon cancer survivor. It is scary and confusing to get diagnosed with cancer colon at the age of 40 when in your mind, you are just thinking that the best part of your life is before you. The words by my doctor that I have cancer made me feel like a train had just crushed me, but my family, in particular, my husband Tim, helped me throughout the arduous journey. Although you may be feeling like you are all alone, open your heart and feelings to your family members and you will notice how much they love and care for you. That is just what I did. And the love and support I received from my family were overwhelming.
I realized that people are willing to help you in any way they can. I also realized that talking to your friends and relatives is the first stage in overcoming cancer. I urge you as someone who has gone through what you are going through to keep your mind occupied with positive thoughts, and you will overcome the challenge. Many people have already gone through what you are already going through and came out as winners. You will also add your testimony to the growing list of testimonies.
What made you seek the services of a doctor?
Well, I have always been a bubbly person. I am the kind of person who loves nature. When I am off work, you will find me walking or resting in the park with a cup of yogurt, juice or crackers and cakes. It is funny, but most of the time, my husband would not even call me as long as he knew I was off work. He would just come to my favorite spot in the park, and there he will find me. He would usually come with something, whether it is a fruit, yogurt or anything to eat; he knew how I loved snacks. Tim was the one who noticed that I was slowly losing my love for snacks; he would bring me some and I would not even touch them. At first, I thought it was something that will pass, but as days went by, I completely lost my appetite for foods and snacks, and I began losing weight. At that point, I became concerned, and I had to visit a doctor.
How did your doctor diagnose cancer?
I was lucky to be dealing with Dr. Mohamed Dawood Ismail, a gastroenterologist in Dubai, who had dealt with other cases that were similar to mine as I doubt if it were other doctors, they would have realized that it is cancer. I have had stories of patients who were misdiagnosed with other digestive problems giving the cancer time to progress to later stages. Immediately I visited Dr. Ismail Day Surgical Center and shared my problems with Dr. Ismail; the doctor advised that I undergo fecal occult. After the test, the doctor told me that there was blood in my stool and that it was necessary I undergo further tests immediately as it could be an indication of a more severe problem. The doctor advised I undergo colonoscopy as the second test, which showed that I had colon cancer.
How did you break the news to your loved ones?
Honestly, I don’t think I was in my right senses. After the doctor gave me the news, I remember frantically searching for my phone in my handbag, and I could not find it. I had to throw everything on a table to find my phone. I called my husband crying, and the moment he received my phone, he knew something was wrong and told me to wait for him. Tim’s office was only 20 minutes away. I was lost in my thoughts when Tim held my hand, and the first words I told him was that I had cancer. Tim held my hand as we walked to the doctor’s office to discuss how I was going to start treatment. We agreed that I was going to start treatment in two weeks’ time. As we went home, I was kind of certain that I was going to make it, especially after Dr. Ismail assured me that the cancer was still in its early stage. I was able to call my mum and informed her that I had cancer, and I was going to start treatment in two weeks.
How did you prepare for surgery?
Preparation for the procedure was not difficult; I saw it as my second birth. Dr. Ismail had told me how to prepare for the surgery. I had to avoid taking foods high in fiber or any fiber supplements at least for the last three days before the surgery. On the last day, I had to go on a clear liquid diet. I was also advised to take a laxative drink on the night before the surgery and the morning before the surgery to clear out the colon. I was to finish the laxative five hours before the procedure, and I was to stop taking any drink two hours before the surgery.
Did you have any doubts?
No, I fully trusted Dr, Ismail. He is a highly qualified gastroenterologist with eight years of experience. I felt I could not be in safer hands.
How was the experience?
After undergoing through the options available to me and analyzing their pros and cons, we had settled for laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon had to make a few incisions and insert the tubes where the surgical instruments and the camera had to go through to allow the doctor to carry the surgery. According to the doctor, the procedure would leave smaller scars, and it would allow me to leave the hospital quicker. I hate hospital stays and choosing the procedure was straightforward. During the procedure, the doctor applied anesthesia to numb the area before creating the small incisions. The doctor then used a cannula to inflate my abdomen, which is necessary to allow the doctor to see the organs more clearly. The procedure took about one hour to complete.
How was the healing process?
After the surgery, I had to stay in the hospital overnight to allow the doctor to monitor my progress closely. I understand the purpose was to allow the doctor to check for any adverse reaction and prolonged bleeding. The following morning, I was happy and ready to go home, although with moderate pain in the areas where the incision was made. The joy of getting rid of the cancerous cells was more than the pain that comes with it. I would confidently recommend Dr. Ismail to any patient looking for a gastroenterologist in Dubai, anytime, any day!