Cain's Dream: A Trip of a Lifetime

I want to tell you about a story of love, hope and determination. This is the story of Cain Cameron: 3 time Cancer survivor and my hero.

Back in 2011, Cain was rushed to the emergency room with intensive cramping in his lower abdomen which left him doubled over in so much pain, almost to the point where he couldn't walk. Doctors were puzzled as to what the cause of his extreme pain, so obviously they did test after test. All tests coming out clear one after another (they tested him for a wide variety of things, everything seems like a blur how many things he was tested for).

It wasn't until they did a routine ultrasound that they discovered a mass in his Colon. So they immediately decided the best form of action was to do a Colonoscopy which would give them a better insight to what they were dealing with. To cut a long story short: at the tender age of 31 years old Cain was diagnosed with Stage 2 to 3 Bowel Cancer.

As the doctors explained to us, my world stopped. I was numb. I felt like the wind had been taken from me. I couldn't breathe. Cancer? He was only 31 years old for goodness sakes!

I remember hearing the instant, quiet sobs from my mother in law beside me as the implications of what her baby boy - her world - was going to have to deal with. This wasn't supposed to happen. We were set to get married, have children, go traveling the world.

But I suppose life had other plans for us. And the fact that there had been absolutely NO HISTORY of Bowel Cancer in the family stumped both the doctors and our family.

So began the journey of dealing with intensive Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy treatments. While also throwing in a colostomy bag to the mix completed the draining months ahead (not to mention the operation he had to have to remove the tumor in the first place!).

But not once did Cain ever complain about 'how hard he had it' and 'why life is so cruel sometimes' etc. He just dealt with it because he had no other choice but to deal with it. It was his life, and he was going to deal with it the best way he could.

In the end of 2011, beginning of 2012 Cain was then told he was Cancer free for the first time. He was told he would be in remission which essentially doctors would proclaim he would be 'cured' fully after 5 years after treatment, having a Colonoscopy done once every year.

I wish I could say that this was the end of our journey, that I could say we lived happily ever after... But no: it isn't the end.

In February of 2013, Cain had to go to the dentist to get a tooth removed as it was rubbing against his tongue causing an ulcer to form on the right side of his tongue. It all seemed easily enough, very straight forward procedure. Cain had the tooth removed, again without complaining. But when the ulcer itself would not heal up, a biopsy had to be taken and sent off to the labs. You can kind of see where this is going, can't you? Yes, diagnosed with cancer of the tongue (more or less the ulcer what we thought it was, actually had turned into a solid mass of a tumor). After having a minor operation to remove the tumor and in turn, about ¼ of his tongue (no, tongues do not grow back before you ask) was removed. The surgeon then gave him the all clear. Would Cain need any more treatments? No, he should be okay. So we went on with life once again. We were happy again.

It wasn't until about a month after the procedure Cain started feeling some sort of "˜lump' in his neck which seemed to be growing in size. To cut the story short a bit, his GP sent him off for scans and again he was given the diagnosis of Throat Cancer (obviously related from his tongue as it was left untreated for a period of time).

So we then started the process of Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy once again. But this time around there would only be 3 super strong chemo sessions (which would result in him having to stay in overnight each time) and several weeks of radiotherapy. Again, no complaints from Cain: he was just tired and wanted it to be over again.

In between being diagnosed with Throat Cancer (and not being a smoker!!!) he had to have a peg (tube) inserted into his stomach so he'd be able to feed himself as getting towards the end his throat would ulcer up badly, to the point where he wouldn't be able to eat or drink anymore.

He was alright with that, Cain didn't care just kept taking it in his stride even when he lost all his hair, when it became too painful to eat or drink, when he was just in too much pain to even get out of bed in the morning. But he still carried on as always, with a smile and his optimistic attitude.

One of his stints in hospital (back in August of 2013) turned horrifying when I received a telephone call (which I had missed) at 12:04 in the morning. My stomach just sank. I had the worst feeling ever wash over me. No message was left. It was a Blocked number which I had known previously that only the hospital would call me on that number. But because I had missed the call, they didn't call back: So I fell asleep uneasily that night.

In the morning at 11am, I remember waking up to the sound of my phone ringing. I answered it and it was Cain's mum, she was in floods of tears "“ sobbing and just bawling her eyes out. Cain had stopped breathing last night, she'd said. But then she managed to say that they revived him. He was in the ICU, under heavy sedation and had tubes everywhere. I broke down. It was honestly one of the most terrifying experiences I had ever witnessed. I had almost lost my soul mate. As I sit here typing this out to you, the reader, I'm tearing up. To almost lose someone who you hope to spend the rest of your life with is scary. I said I would be there soon, and that I loved her son and I wanted to marry him.

The next moment I remember is walking into the ICU room, monitors and tubes everywhere. He was asleep, but he was still going in and out consciousness. He could open his eyes and wiggle his toes. As soon as he heard my voice, his heart rate lifted and the nurse turned to me and said "he must be really excited to hear your voice" and I guess that's when I truly realized that he really did love me (not that I didn't know that before but this just confirmed it, yes I'm getting all mushy haha) and this was where I was supposed to be.

Anyway, getting back on track (yes I'm a bit all over the place, I know) to be able to save his life they had to put something called a Tracheotomy put in his throat so it would help him breathe but would leave him a mute for a few weeks. It's okay, I could deal with that. I liked the sound of my own voice enough already, haha. Don't worry, he did have a whiteboard to communicate all thoughts and feelings too! (He thankfully received no brain damage).

So the following weeks pass us by, a speech therapist comes in and gives him something that he can place over his Tracheotomy to be able to speak. Let me tell you, hearing his voice for the first time brought tears to my eyes and you don't realize how much you take your voice for granted. It was an amazing feeling, one I think I will remember forever.

But just recently, Cain was luckily enough to be able to have the Tracheotomy removed (he INSISTED that he removed it himself) and was left with a pencil hole wound in its place which is still currently healing as of 3rd of October, 2013.

The nurses have always loved having Cain in their care though. He's a very self sufficient person. He likes to take his own medications and does his own feeds (through the tube in his stomach). All the nurses joke that he should become a nurse himself as he has spent enough time there already.

While still being in the recovery stages of his third (and hopefully final) cancer, Cain's dream has always been to travel to Japan. Why Japan, do you ask? He loves the culture, the food, the people, the language: basically everything to do with Japan. So I want to send him there. He honestly is one of the bravest people I have ever met. He is my hero and he deserves the absolute world "“ and I'm not just saying this because I love him. It's the truth. When things would be falling apart for anybody else who has dealt with the Cancer diagnosis in his position, Cain has raised above it. He has shown me that true heroes aren't those in shining amour, they're just everyday people: just coping the best way they can.

I hope Cain's story has touched some of you, and that maybe you could find it in your heart to donate. Whether that be a dollar or even $500, it all counts and it is all appreciated. I will personally thank every single one of you who donate. It honestly means the world to both Cain and I. Thank you.

Warm regards,
Emma

PS: Sorry that this is so long, I really needed to explain everything so you can understand!
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Emma Bartlett 
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