Today, Iain, from our Support Group, shares his story:
For well over a year I noticed my belly steadily getting bigger though I didn't seem to be eating any more than normal. I of course tried dieting a few times but when I didn't lose weight I gave up pretty quickly.
At work I used to eat at my desk and started noticing when I brushed down the crumbs (mucky pup!), I felt a pain right down the surface of my chest but again didn't think it was more than just getting fat. But around October 2012, this pain in my chest began bothering me all the time and found it very difficult to tie my shoe laces so only then did I go to the Doctors.
My Doctor thought I might have a hernia and sent me to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee for an Ultrascan. I got this appointment within a week and was seen first by a student who could not explain what she saw so called the nurse who also had a look. She also couldn't explain what she was seeing so then called a doctor who explained that there was something there obscuring the view but again he had never seen this before and recommended my own GP send me for a CT scan which he did.
I had the CT scan early December and waited 2 weeks for the results. I was surprised when Mr Polignano at Ninewells Hospital wanted to see me the following week to discus the results but still not fearing anything serious was wrong I went on my own to be told I had this rare cancer PMP which needed the huge operation you all know about.
My operation lasted 12 hours followed by the Chemo Pack for another 2 hours and eventually got to Intensive Care after midnigh. I only spent one day in Intensive care and was taken to the High Dependency Unit for a further 5 days. During this time I have to admit I had short periods of depression and wanted to die as I felt so bad but luckily these feelings didn't last long as the staff were marvellous and made me as comfortable as I could possibly get.
I was then transferred to a private room on a ward where i stayed for a further 2 weeks. I was given a pass to go home for a long weekend but was let back home as they could see I was eating much better at home and getting much more exercise that I was on the ward.
So I was in hospital for just over 3 weeks.
When I was initially told I don't think I really took it in; I had a wee cry in the car and went back to work. It was difficult telling others as my mother, partner, friends and family, seemed to take it quite bad. Apart from one day, 2 days after I was told, I've never really got upset whilst everyone around me acted like they were going to lose me. I did get upset when my original operation was cancelled as I lay on the bed sedated waiting for the operation to begin, and then to receive a letter saying I had to wait a month until the new date. I did get chest pains which my Doctor said was acid reflux which I am prone too but I think it was also anxiety. I do get very emotional about anything and should really stop watching programmes like 'NHS In A Day' as I always end up in tears. This emotion is not in anyway sympathy for my own condition as I have always accepted I have no control over it and want to get on with a normal life.
I feel quite good at the moment but want to push on the recovery so I can get back to work. I'm an impatient patient!! My stoma is soon to be reversed and I can't wait for that. I worry about catching any colds or worse off people in supermarkets etc. but will not become a hermit.
My advice to tohers is to stay positive whilst recovering as it does help. As one doctor doing his daily rounds told me,
" We can help you overcome any physical problems but It's up to you to keep your mind positive." and he was right.
To read more stories like Iain's, please visit our Survivors' Stories page.