A household appliance engineer has opened up about his diagnosis of terminal bowel cancer, writing in a heartbreaking diary entry how his world unfurled when doctors gave him the terrible news.
On August 16, Adam Cattermole was told he had a mass in his bowel which had already spread to his liver and lymph nodes.
The 36-year-old, from Littleover, on the outskirts of Derby, initially visited A&E with severe stomach craps.
While undergoing tests and awaiting his diagnosis, his condition deteriorated to such a degree that just wearing a car seatbelt caused him excruciating pain – even with his shirt and trousers undone.
On one occasion he had to be retrieved by his wife, Emma, after being stranded at the Watford Gap motorway services, doubled over in pain and unable to stretch out.
With his brother, he owns and runs a small business, Cattermole Electrical, which supports Emma and their three young children – six-year-old Harry; Jacob, four; and 16-month-old Rosie.
He is one of about 2,500 people aged under the age of 50 to develop bowel cancer every year in the UK, according to data from Cancer Research.
The disease is most common in people over 85.
Since her husband's diagnosis, Mrs Cattermole started a fundraising page in order to raise money for a specialist cancer treatment to extend his life.
They may need as much as £400,000.
In his journal entry, published in Derbyshire Live , Mr Cattermole writes that his ordeal began with a sensation akin to a "pulled muscle, or a stitch in my right side that came and went over three weeks".
A number of appointments, scans and meetings with his GP followed – all of which led to him feeling increasingly scared.
The mild pain continued to come and go – although he exhibited none of the typical symptoms of bowel cancer.
But he was forced to confront his own mortality when his pain exploded on a routine job in the south of England.
He wrote: "If you're driving and you have to have your buttons, belt and zip undone and it still hurts with the seat belt, that cannot be normal, so I pulled off at Watford Gap services.
"Sitting there, in the first bit of pain I’ve ever had, it was excruciating. I had to ring Emma to come and get me.
"An hour and half later Emma arrived with Richard, another engineer who would go to the job I was on my way to. Getting out the van I was doubled over in pain, it was hard to walk, stretch out, move or do anything. Off we go back up the M1 towards Derby and the hospital.
"At 7am, a surgeon comes in to my room and that's when my world starts unfurling.
"The surgeon said they'd looked at my MRI and there was an issue with my bowel, so they were going to send me for an emergency CT scan at 3pm. An hour and half after the scan, the same emergency nurse comes in.
"The nurse sits down on my bed, I’m alone with a surgeon I’ve only just met. The curtains are drawn around me, it's just me and her. Time slows down, I can hear the seconds on the clock.
"TICK TICK TICK.
"When she opens her mouth to speak, I almost know what she’s going to say before the sounds pass her lips. Her eyes look directly at mine, as she says: 'We’ve found a mass in your bowel, this has spread to your liver, lymph nodes and peritoneum that we can see. There are no signs of anything in your lungs, I’m so sorry to have to tell you this at your age'.
"It almost washes over me, my mind tries to cling onto anything it can, that I have to tell my wife of four years, my best friend of 10 years."
Mr Cattermole signs off the diary entry at the point of his ileostomy – a surgery to divert the small bowel through an opening in the abdomen. Doctors have not been able to remove his tumour surgically.
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