Stretch marks and belly buttons 

Yesterday I was told that I will be undergoing a bowel and liver re-section on Friday 27 May. Hearing this has brought a mixture of emotions, mostly terror and apprehension.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very keen for this cancer to be whipped out of me really fast. The sooner the better. It’s invading my body, it’s alien and it operates on stealth mode causing my body to react in ways it shouldn’t. I want it out, it doesn’t control me but for as long as it’s inside me it behaves as if it has got right of first refusal.

I know surgery is going to hurt, and physical pain can have a detrimental effect on emotional well-being. I don’t feel I’m in a strong position emotionally so I’m just hoping I’ve been able to put enough in the tank to see me through this one.

The list of risks associated with this type of surgery is a long one! I’m not going to recount it here…I’m scared enough as it is, I don’t want to create even more anxiety around me and I’m pretty sure readers won’t really want to know. And if you do want to know, just drop me a line.

I will be in hospital for a whole week away from my children. I’m not relishing the prospect of being far away from them; they’re the source of a kind of love which brings strength to my heart. However I’m also aware that hospitals are intimidating for young people and I would not want them to feel uncomfortable or scared seeing me after surgery.

I just wish I wouldn’t have to be wrestling with these thoughts and emotions on my own. This statement is probably going to have some readers reacting with the usual “we are here for you”, “you don’t have to do this alone”, and I appreciate those sentiments. But it’s not that kind of “alone” I’m talking about. I refer to the alone in the sense of ‘without Michael’ and no one can fit in to his shoes.

I face a long recovery ahead. Although my surgeon and consultant are both confident that, because of my “yuff” and level of fitness, I should need around six weeks to get back on my feet, I won’t be “strong enough to run 10k” as one of them said; so a parkrun should be fine then!

Also the uncertainty of what will come afterwards, treatment-wise, depending on what they find once they open me up, is unbearable right now. I will have a chance to ask questions about the whole procedure but right now my mind is blank; it’s a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.

Call me vain, but I’m not looking forward to a big scar running down the middle of my tummy and the possibility that I will have no belly button afterwards. Never again will I complain about my tummy being scarred by stretch marks because as unsightly as they are, they are also a reminder that I bore three beautiful, amazing and loving children.

On the face of it all, stretch marks somehow seem preferable now.

The author’s belly button
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5 thoughts on “Stretch marks and belly buttons 

  1. Good luck with your surgery next week. Ive recovered well from both of my resections. You have the fitness and inner strength to recover quickly 😄

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  2. Hi, I’m Gail and I am a blogger here as well. I’ve just read all your posts. Thank goodness I found your blog early on so there was only a few posts to catch up on. I was diagnosed with rectosigmoid cancer on September 17th, 2015, just about three weeks before you got your cancer diagnosis. I completely understand your “on your own” remark. Get it. I could not even imagine not having my husband by my side while I have gone through everything. You are a special kind of brave!

    Listen, like you I am a runner. In fact, I am a certified fitness professional. The very fact that you are fit has not saved you from getting cancer but it WILL help you get through it. Because I was thin, healthy (other than the stupid cancer) and fit, I was able to have a laparoscopic resection and while I certainly felt weak after my surgery, I was able to rebound much quicker than someone who had not taken care of their body. This WILL be you as well. I did not have to deal with what it looks like you will: a “big scar running down the middle of my tummy and the possibility that I will have no belly button afterwards” but I did receive four lovely laparoscopic holes on my tummy along with a rather larger scar that will be well hidden by my bikini bottoms. (YES!! I am determined to wear a bikini this summer!). I understand your fears over the surgery, and yours will be a bigger one than mine because of your liver, but you WILL rebound quickly, You’ll probably shock yourself and the doctors.

    Maybe you are doing this already, but I made sure I wrote down EVERY question I had about my surgery and what might have to come afterwards in a journal and I made sure I wrote down all the answers because my brain was not operating properly and I could barely remember anything. Cancer will do that to your mind.

    Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, I am a certified fitness professional and have been for over 20 years. If you are a facebook user I invite you to go to my Capable Fitness With Gail page and “like” the PAGE. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/capablyfit/
    Every day you will get doable exercises, yummy recipes, motivational advice (we can all use that), actionable fitness advice and some humor as well. I’d love to have you on board as a fan and hearing about how you are doing. Regardless, I’ll be following your blog. If you EVER need to ask a question about how I dealt with things, feel absolutely free to do so. One thing that has been fabulous about blogging has been my ability to connect with people like you who are also blogging about their cancer journey. I have learned so much about the human condition because of other people’s stories.

    Cheers to you!

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    1. Hi Gail, thank you for your message. It’s encouraging to hear from other bloggers.
      I’m hoping my honesty raises awareness as to how tough living with cancer is. But right now my life is overwhelmed by the pain of losing my husband.
      I do hope that my surgery will take care of the invader, and I do hope to be able to wear bikinis!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marbellys, no tenia idea. Yo se que quizas tu no quieras oir esto ahora, pero voy a estar orando por ti y tus hijos. Siempre te he tenido un cariño especial. Todo va a salir bien, tu no estas sola, Yo entiendo que tu esposo no esta fisicamente contigo, y te doy mi mas sentido pesame, pero sus memorias estan contigo, y tus hijos tambien. Llamame si quieres. Alejandra

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