27 March brought my 60th birthday and a fabulous secret party with friends and family arranged by Bob and the kids. It was a wonderful day. I was so surprised – it was all so unexpected. To see Chris, my ex-husband, there with family and old friends was good and a great relief. It seemed to bring the circle of my life with him to a close and resolution. It was a highlight of the day for me.
In April 2017, I wanted to treat Bob to a nice holiday once my chemo had finished. We booked a trip to Dubrovnik once the money from the house came through, and it was so exciting! We arrived and then one day later it started. My symptoms had started to come back – acute tummy cramps. I couldn’t eat and hardly drink. We had to get flights home and I went straight to A&E at Leighton Hospital. I had struggled to lie down or sit on holiday and I knew it was serious. It really broke my heart to come back home. I really had to pull myself together to even get on the flight. Over the next three days I went backwards and forwards to hospital and finally they kept me in on Tuesday 25 April. They found a blockage in my bowel which was worsening and was life threatening in the end. On the Monday following, they had to operate to remove a large section of my bowel. I ended up with a stoma. They still don’t know the cause of that blockage and I am waiting for results and a full picture of what is going on to come back from the variety of doctors I am under now. Intuitively, I felt it may be scar tissue from my first operation in Berlin, but the surgeon felt it may be cancer.
There were complications after the operation and had I had to stay in hospital for a month. It was a big thing to get used to the stoma. At first I couldn’t look at it, it was too gory, and I thought I would never get used to it. I had lots of help from the nurses each day and I began to get used to it and learned how to handle it. I later realised that the day after the operation I had a mini stroke. I was discharged on 26 May.
In June 2017, we took a trip at the start of the month to Yorkshire. On the first day of our break away, we booked into a hotel in Hemsley. I came downstairs after checking in as we were going out to eat. All of a sudden my legs went from under me and I felt so weak as if I was about to collapse. My left leg felt paralyzed and the sensation went into my left arm and eventually my face. I managed to walk outside and sat opposite Bob at a table. He said that my mouth had dropped and that my speech had changed. I had suffered a stroke. Twenty minutes after it started, the pins and needles sensations started to go away and I began to feel normal again.