Janusz Rudzinski – I Am Not Giving in:

Maintaining a Positive Attitude in the Face of Anal Cancer

Janusz Rudzinski was tested for HPV and more. This extensive screening helped to diagnose anal cancer after he developed anal fistulas. Although he was mentally prepared for the news and had a no-nonsense approach to life, the side effects of the treatment took their toll.

He has damage to the nerves in his feet, making walking long distances difficult. However, he has also learned to appreciate that, sometimes, sharing problems with healthcare professionals can help improve our daily lives.

Despite the vast majority of anal cancer cases being caused by infection with human papillomavirus (HPV). Regular HPV Swab Testing shows the possibility that cancer could be related. However, Janusz has not openly discussed this connection.

I fell in love with it. I am from Poland, near the Czech border. I’m 58, and I’m gay. I live in London. I am a little fed up with London, but you need some time off occasionally.

Nasty pus came out, so I returned to the doctor and examined what had happened. So they did blood tests and other things, and that’s how I found out.

They said right away I had anal cancer. There was something not right. It is more than simply some kind of complication from the surgery. I was mentally prepared for the news. I’m that kind of person.

I take things as they come.

It happened, so I had to deal with it. Of course, I got moments of depression, wondering what was going to happen next. I got on with life because I’m not the only one who got HPV tested and diagnosed with something like this and had to deal with it.

They told me what to expect, and I tried to make myself comfortable, but they talked in a language I didn’t understand. I wanted to get on with it immediately and do what needed to be done, so I just went with whatever they told me.

They started with chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time. I was going every day to the hospital. That lasted for two or three weeks.

I had quite bad side effects. The skin in my perineum blistered, and it was bleeding, and when I went to the toilet, the pain was out of this world. I was on the floor; it was that bad. STD tests showed that I was infected. And the HPV variant test revealed that it was indeed a cancer-causing strain of the virus.

But then I followed the diet they told me to eat, and it got better. I knew I had to get through it and see what would happen next.

It was hard, but someone advised me to stock up on the fridge and freezer, so I was prepared. I didn’t have to do any heavy shopping. Everything was already there, and I got small things on the way home.

I tried to make myself as comfortable with life as possible, to hide awareness from people and get on with it.

I’m not giving in.

I am still going for the checkups. It was every three months, but now it’s every six months. They do biopsies and other STD Lab tests.

I feel very weak at times, but I’m not giving in. I went for a walk yesterday. I’ve got this walking group once every week or so. The problem is I got a diagnosis of neuropathy, which is when there is damage to the nerves in the hands, feet, and arms. These long walks are not good for me.

I have good shoes, but my feet swell up after walking. It was uncomfortable, but I pushed myself to do them. I don’t want to sit on my arse and moan because I hate to moan. Growing up in a Communist country, you had to be tough.

I wish I had done it earlier. It was maybe three or four years ago I got a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Perhaps it was related to the STD cancer and perhaps due to life in general, as I’ve gone through a lot of things.

I tried to solve the problems from HPV Variant testing I had before with counselling, but it didn’t work for me. So, I decided I wanted to confront myself and see what was wrong with me. I saw a psychiatrist, and she diagnosed me with PTSD. I’m on citalopram, and it helps me a lot. I wish I’d done it years ago if it had been available.

We all have diseases.

After my STD Panel Tests and treatment for my anal cancer, for the last two years, I started having problems getting an erection. I had one, maybe one every six months, and then it went completely. It’s difficult, but I didn’t think it was that important as I had generally lost interest in sex.

But then I had an HPV Variant test and assessment with my doctor and finally discussed it. I went for blood tests so they could find out what was wrong with me and whether they could treat me with medication. The damage could have been from during my treatment for anal cancer. I don’t know.

It’s part of being human; a lot of people talk about anal cancer if it’s something shameful or embarrassing to talk about. But I have never had a problem with it. If you have a positive diagnosis, get on with it. Be aware of it and not be scared. It’s part of being a human being.

I didn’t know about HPV before. STD home tests for a range of diseases will also help. I would say that if a vaccine is available that can stop people from developing HPV-related cancers, they should take it. Maybe they wouldn’t have to go through what I have been through.