Corrigan tried her best to pay attention. Her son desperately needed her attention, so she wanted to keep playing with the Lego toys. Her son loved it when she played with him.
As hard as she tried, she could feel the weight of her eyelids and the flatness of her breath. She tried to hold on. Just a while longer, she thought. Her son’s voice grew distant as her vision blackened and she fell to the floor.
Laura Corrigan was a single mother who lived in Durham, England. She threw herself at work so that she could provide for her family. She may not have been a CrossFit enthusiast, but she stayed pretty active in her daily life. At least that̵
But she had always felt tired lately. She dismissed it because she was only letting work come to her. Her friends didn’t believe it, they were worried about her, and they were right.
Corrigan believed she knew the trick to her tiredness, she had a variety of vitamins and over-the-counter drugs in the hopes that they would work. Vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B, zinc, even iron – but they did little to help.
After weeks of failing to improve her health, her friends let her see a doctor. The doctor did little to help and sent her on her way with a sick note so she could rest. But Corrigan’s illness would not be so easily cured.
Another sleepless night
As Corrigan drove down the road, she remembered her previous night. As always, her sons drained their energy. Her youngest son was just a baby and would cry all night.
He didn’t want to pull her hair or kick her, he was still a baby. But these actions still aroused her. His crying was enough to give her a headache. Then something gave Corrigan a shiver that crept up her back.
Corrigan’s condition was worsening, she was so pale and had never had more energy. She stopped eating because she simply no longer had an appetite for it. Her friends were more concerned than ever and decided it was time for her second time to see the doctor.
They couldn’t understand that Corrigan, a strong woman, had gotten over the flu weeks ago but was still losing health. Everyone was afraid of what was happening to her.
The doctor took Corrigan much more seriously the second time after seeing her condition. He ran tests to find out what could be causing her illness. But every single test came back with nothing. According to them, she was perfectly healthy, which apparently was not.
The doctor resorted to an elimination approach. She was given all the antibiotics the doctor could think of. He hoped to learn more from her reaction to all the classes she took. But in the end just the opposite happened.
Have an impact
Corrigan didn’t feel any better, in fact she just felt worse. Her body started to ache and she could hardly stay awake these days. Her sanity was in danger next as everything else deteriorated.
Everyone close to Corrigan was so concerned. Maybe there was no illness and it was just in her head? Corrigan knew it wasn’t. Something was wrong with her body. Even her friends knew her and knew something was seriously wrong.
I am looking for answers
Corrigan knew there was nothing her doctor could do to help her. Instead, she decided to search for answers online. She chatted with experts online and even tried herbal remedies. Nothing helped.
When Corrigan searched for answers, no one could tell her what to hear. She felt so alone. Maybe it was mental and everything was in her head.
An other opinion
Corrigan finally decided to return to the doctors and get a second opinion. She had to wait a few weeks for the results of her tests to come back. The whole time she was still in pain.
The phone rang and the doctor asked her to come in and speak to him. She preferred to speak personally anyway. But after leaving the doctor’s office, she felt a lump in her stomach that made it difficult to breathe.
Corrigan felt a great surge of tiredness. The work day was almost over, she just had to ignore her body – and her doctor – and only thought about her sons at home. She found that the images on her mind were helpful.
She thought about what they would do when she got home from work. That distraction was enough to keep her working and she almost felt okay. But that didn’t take long.
Take the breaks
Back in the car, Corrigan was looking forward to being home. She missed her boys and needed their lightheartedness to erase this strange day she was having.
She got to an intersection and turned home. She was halfway when it happened again. The intense wave of fatigue. Except this time, she felt dizzy. Then something else happened and she threw herself on the brakes.
A warm hug
She managed to safely overtake her car and gave in to the pain. Everything hurt. She gave herself a few more moments. I’m waiting for it to be over When the time finally came, she went home again.
When she got home, she greeted her boys with a big smile and a hug in her arms. She asked if they were hungry and made dinner. But she only had one thing on her mind.
She had to think and didn’t want to panic the boys, so she decided to take a family walk on the coast. This was one of her favorite things to do.
When she was with her boys and at the seaside, worries about her health subsided and she began to think more calmly. She would spend the rest of the evening with her little men, seeking advice tomorrow. Little did she know it wasn’t going to go as planned.
Corrigan and her boys came home refreshed and revitalized. Finally some time to relax, she thought. But as soon as she sat on the sofa, the boys got out of the Lego set.
They weren’t done playing games and they definitely weren’t done hanging out with mom. Sighing affectionately, she knelt down and began to play. Then everything changed.
As she played, her eyelids grew heavy, her breath was shallow, she could not hold on. Corrigan finally passed out exhausted and slept in the middle of the Lego. Her son took a picture of her and she then posted it on Instagram.
But why was she so tired? There was a reason for that. With a pounding heart, she decided to reveal the tragic reason she was so tired. She sat behind a desk and started typing.
After Corrigan got fed up with her mysterious symptoms, she sought medical advice from a new doctor. Soon after, she was diagnosed with colon cancer.
This was especially rare for someone in their mid-30s, but doctors still had hopes for their future. “It was pretty hard to process,” she wrote on her Cancer, Milk & Rainbows blog. “I just wanted to know if I was going to die or not and they couldn’t really answer that.”
Courageous and open
She created a blog and overcame the fear of sharing her personal story online. Corrigan explains how social media has been a great form of therapeutic release and support for her.
“It helped me write down thoughts and feelings and connect with others,” she explained. But Corrigan had her own idea of help in mind.
In addition to being a member of several different societies, Corrigan gave back to their cancer community by raising money for Bowel Cancer UK.
An avid kayaker and wild swimmer, she completed a mile of swimming despite being seriously ill at the time. She has never been happier than being near the ocean and surrounded by nature.
It wasn’t long before Corrigan was doing chemo-radiation therapy every day. It was around this time that she began to notice how her illness was affecting her children.
She had to stop breastfeeding her youngest son, Finn. She felt emotional and sought solace in her blog writing. “This has been the hardest part of my journey so far, certainly more difficult than hearing the diagnosis. On the other hand, he gets along amazingly well after just two weeks, ”she revealed.
But Corrigan was an avowed “fighter”. She took every day as it came and took every new challenge in her step. To try to make sense of what was happening and to document her struggle, she turned more and more to her writing.
“I write when I can and I have connected a lot with other people that way, as well as in Facebook support groups.” Almost a year after her initial diagnosis, Corrigan continues to battle her illness.