Describe how your journey began
I woke up on the morning of my 39th birthday with severe pain in my upper abdomen. By lunchtime I had to cancel my birthday party and went to hospital Emergency Department instead. The hospital concluded that I had gallbladder issues, so an ultrasound was scheduled and I was sent home with painkillers to await an ultrasound.
What Medical Advice did you seek ?
Initially it was the emergency room at the hospital. Then the ultrasound which progressed very quickly a CT scan. After the scans I was scheduled to see a liver surgeon for further assessment, where surgery became the option and I was scheduled 1 week later.
How did you receive / deal with your diagnosis
I’m not sure I did ‘deal’ with it at that moment. Things had happened so fast and 2 weeks after my first attack I was in hospital recovering from a huge operation that completely changed my life. It was all a blur, like it wasn’t really happening to me. I think it became more of a reality once I began chemotherapy. that’s when the gravity of this new reality, really began to kick in.
How did you make Decisions
A lot of the early decisions were taken out of my hands. Thankfully I had an incredibly proactive surgical team that made all the right decisions on my behalf. Once the chemotherapy situation presented itself, that’s when I began researching for more answers and relevant information. This search lead me to find the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. From there I was able to find information and control the treatments I received.
I learnt that Knowledge is definitely power.
Any unusual or interesting facts?
To begin with, the surgeon thought I had a duplicate gallbladder….he was quite excited as this is very rare. I think he was quite disappointed when he found a dirty rotten tumor instead!