CEA Blood Test, Colon Cancer Tumour Marker test. My Story at age 34
“I know people who, until recently, did not go to the toilet because of pain. In the end, everything turned out to be a disaster.” Stories of people who survived colon cancer and are now freely talking about how to beat it. In the UK, people increasingly have colorectal cancer – cancer of the colon and rectum. However, people are embarrassed to talk about symptoms that may indicate cancer or other bowel diseases – for example, blood in the stool – and do not want to go for a colonoscopy or check the stool for occult blood because it is all embarrassing. However, there are also those for whom the topic of colorectal cancer and its symptoms is no longer taboo because these people themselves encountered this disease and realized that they can and should talk about it publicly.
Georgy Troyan, 34 years old, chef of the Severyan restaurant
When I learned about my disease, I was 34 years old. Strangely, this happened at such an early age; none of my relatives had cancer. Perhaps this is due to stress at work and my inherent self-destruction. And in general, men often think: “It will hurt and stop, no big deal.” That’s what happened to me: my lower abdomen hurt for a week, and I practically stopped sleeping, but I didn’t do anything. Only the girl convinced me to go to the doctor for a CEA Blood Test and make an appointment with a gastroenterologist. At the appointment, the doctor first said that it was dysbacteriosis and poor nutrition, but then he was alerted by the ultrasound.
Then, they did an additional PET/CT scan and told me that I had a tumour.
At first, I was bothered; I thought that all this was nonsense and that the tumour was benign. Besides, I donated blood for tumour markers, and they showed nothing. Then, I had a colonoscopy under general anaesthesia, and a biopsy was taken. The doctor said we need to wait for the results, but the probability of a malignant tumour is 99%.
I sat in my office and didn’t know how to hold back and not cry. But I turned everything into a joke and went out, and my first feelings were complete emptiness, no feelings as if they had turned it off. And I waited a week for the results and hoped for one per cent. Oncologist Andrew Stails spoke about similar sensations in the film “Human Life.” I became acquainted with his Story a little later – I remember lying in the hospital, watching a movie at night and crying. About a week had already passed since the biopsy. I was driving in a taxi to choose equipment for a new restaurant, and suddenly I received a letter in the mail.
In it, I read that I have a malignant tumour.
Some photographs with documents were attached there, but I couldn’t even look. I drove halfway, opened the letter again and began reading about bowel cancer on the Internet. I released the CEA Blood Test, which was just the start of things to come. From what I read, I realized that I had the second stage without metastases, and I thought that it wasn’t all that bad. I had all the results in my hands in two weeks: I didn’t want to wait and did everything in a paid clinic in London. I paid 100 thousand for PET/CT.
Not all people can afford this – while the disease progresses, they are forced to sit in queues for several months. During this time, you can fall into depression and become so worked up that, in general, you don’t want to live. Deciding on treatment was not easy at first – I had no experience, I had doubts, and I was ready to sell my apartment to get to the best doctors in France or Israel.
But then I was advised by oncologist Rostislav, who works at the KVMT in Kent. Previously, I contacted several specialists for an independent opinion, but then I met Rostislav and realized that I wanted to be treated by him. When I was diagnosed, the doctor said that I would most likely have a colostomy after surgery.
I was very stressed; it would be hard for me to accept it.
But Rostislav reassured me and said that the probability of this was 10% – I was still young and had strong guts. I was happy when I didn’t find any tubes after the surgery. When you’re old, that’s one thing, but when you’re a young guy and constantly at work, it’s just inconvenient. Of course, a person gets used to everything, but I know people who would rather die than live with a colostomy. During the treatment process, I learned that I was not in the second but in the third stage with metastases.
I wasn’t at all ready for this. After my positive CEA Blood test, I thought I’d have surgery, and that’d be it. When I heard about 12 courses of chemotherapy, I said: “No, guys, let’s finish this quickly.” I imagined how bad I would be: my hair would fall out, I wouldn’t be able to work—it completely broke me. As a result, we settled on four courses of chemotherapy, which are equivalent in concentration to twelve.
In the first two courses, I was depressed.
I almost didn’t even leave the house. I didn’t vomit, but I was extremely weak—three steps, and I was already tired. It was difficult to eat; everything burned, and the body began to react intensely to the cold. Ten minutes on the street drove me crazy – I felt weak and angry. I understood that nothing would change from this and that I needed to accept the situation somehow, but it didn’t always work out. I also stopped sleeping.
Perhaps this is because I read a lot about oncology and talked to cancer patients who had CEA Blood tests also. The more I immersed myself in the topic, the more my mood deteriorated, and I felt worse. Then, I decided to move away from it. Without the support of my friends, it would have been very difficult for me.
True, when I told them about the disease, not everyone at first understood what cancer was.
They called me every hour during the first week and asked: “Well, how are you feeling?” They thought that I was already lying in a coffin and could prepare a funeral menu. In general, I have rethought a lot in life, and in some ways, I am even grateful for cancer. In recent years, I have been self-absorbed, and despite being a successful chef in Moscow, nothing made me happy.
I think it was a wake-up call to think about life.
When I first talked about the disease on my blog on Instagram, many began to write that they were also sick but were embarrassed to talk about it and hide it even from their parents. All people are different; many withdraw into themselves. I hope that my experience will at least help someone. After all, I would never have made an appointment with a doctor, although I had all the signs: I was constantly tired, lethargic, and had a stomach ache. Later, when I read a lot about bowel cancer, I realized that I had reason to get checked. And I scored and didn’t pay any attention to it.
Only a month has passed since the end of chemotherapy – this is very little, and there are still consequences. But this is not surprising – if 30 centimetres of your intestine were cut off, your digestive processes change.
Now everything happens fa, sister and I need to visit-so-remote mote places” more often.
I also follow a diet – I try to eat small meals and red meat no more than once a month. I’m coping with this with difficulty: we are now opening a new restaurant and must try some things. I can’t drink alcohol yet, but I don’t suffer from it because I don’t drink at all. From time to time, I worry that a relapse may occur, and I take a CEA Blood Test to make sure. Friends say you shouldn’t project bad thoughts, but let’s be honest: cancer survivors can’t help but entertain such thoughts.
I often joke about this topic and make fun of everything. But sometimes I think: “What if?” For example, they will tell me six months are left, but what have I done in my 34 years?
And why did you do it? Did you go to work?
Did you cook? Well, okay, good. Such thoughts para you; they don’t let you sleep at night – you are constantly thinking, king, and it takes your strength. Work helps me distract myself; sometimes, I even forget that I am sick. But my acquaintances, who write that they have been diagnosed with a tumour, do not allow me to switch completely. I try to help in any way I can. I think the topic of oncology will remain with me until the end of my life.