Smiling in the Darkness is my story of my struggle against cancer.
My book starts right at the beginning, with my earliest childhood memory. I had a very colourful childhood too, but all of these things have made me the person I am today.
I was first diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 28 years old and after having a radical hysterectomy it meant that I would never be able to have children. Three years later I had a malignant tumour in my appendix, but fortunately it hadn’t spread.
0ver a decade later my past traumas returned to haunt me when I was diagnosed with vaginal cancer. Because I had had my limit of radiotherapy 10 years earlier my only option was a pelvic exenteration, removal of the vagina and colon. I was fortunate enough not to lose my bladder too but I had to wait until I woke up from my surgery to find out whether I was to end up with a urostomy. The surgeons also couldn’t be sure whether I was going to end up with a temporary ileostomy or a permanent colostomy, I would discover this when I woke up from the surgery. If it was on the right it was temporary if it was on the left it was permanent. I was relieved it was on the right and begun the countdown to having it reversed.
Twelve months later I did have it reversed, but it went wrong, so ironically, I now have a permanent colostomy.
Unable to have children myself, I support a Cambodian orphanage and regularly visit the children there. I explain how I found the strength to keep my latest cancer diagnosis a secret from my family for three months as I travelled around the other side of the world.
In this powerful story, I hope my determination shines through as I strive in living life to the full. Marked by near death experiences, you will read about my journey, ranging from skiing and white water rafting incidents through to major life saving surgery.
I still manage to travel to the other side of the world. I don’t give up and I try not to let having a colostomy stop me from doing anything, life is too short. I have recently run a half marathon too.
I am very honest throughout the book and describe my innermost feelings. I believe being open about my illnesses and not being embarrassed about having a colostomy makes life much easier to cope with on a day to day basis.
My story is a true ray of sunshine in a world where so many are struggling in the darkness, if you would like to read more of my story you can purchase my book in the Stomawise Store by clicking on the image of my book above.