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The waiting game... Diagnosis: Cancer Stage IV

THE WAITING GAME...DIAGNOSIS: CANCER STAGE IVDestination: Death? Portugal and its healthcare system is surely costing peoples lives… On 1 June 2023 a tumour was found on my ovary by my gynaecologist in Loule Hospital (privately paid for).

Blood tests, a 3D ultrasound was performed in Gambelas Hospital Faro (privately paid for) and by the end of June, revealed indeed a tumour.  A visit to my GP in my local Centro de Saude ended in an urgent referral to Hospital Portimao (state system), with several appointments and tests (CT scan, blood tests, colonoscopy) taking quite some time.

The word cancer was never mentioned, but it was serious and I needed an operation which cannot be performed in Portimao, so I was referred to a hospital in Lisboa. It took a while for me to find out which hospital, it was the IPO, Instituto Portuguesa Oncologia.

Eventually on 9 October I went for my first visit to Lisbon, with my file with all the info from Hospital Portimao. Unfortunately, CT scan results were missing and the full colonoscopy report was not included either, so it felt like a wasted trip as nothing came out of this meeting. Endless calls and another visit to Portimao Hospital resulted in info finally being sent to the IPO.  

On 2 November I was asked if I knew and if I realised I had cancer? I said nobody has ever used the C word to me, but in all honesty, I knew and know it is not good. My very kind doctor was shocked and said it is cancer stage IV, ovarian cancer for sure, and we think it is colon cancer too! My life expectancy is 3-5 years, with or without chemo therapy treatment. Operation normally 4/6 weeks after the diagnosis and with a four week notice.

Well, it is December 4 today, and despite numerous emails, the communication from IPO has been zero, no date for an operation at all. Am at my wits end, all I want is the alien out of my body!

I want to live a couple of happy years! Am only 57, and although not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to die just yet...In truth, I haven’t got time to die… But my health is deteriorating, and there is no light at the tunnel yet, as there still is no date.

After all these years of helping people with their animals, and animals in general via SOS animal algarve and Sterilise your Strays, I am no longer able to continue, so I also see my life long passion and work disappear into thin air. I am very grateful to all the people and friends who have supported me on a go-fund me which was set up without me knowing it, the support is tremendously welcome and very appreciated: https://gofund.me/6e224cc7 

The future is bleak, very bleak, but I stay positive and in the right mindset, but I will be honest, with destination death that is becoming harder and harder every day passing by without having an operation date.


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