Corrigan was trying her best to pay attention. Her son was in desperate need of her attention so she willed herself to keep playing with the Lego pieces. Her son was ecstatic whenever she played with him.
As much as she tried, she felt the weight of her eyelids and the shallowness of her breath. She was trying to hang on. Just for a while longer, she thought. Her son’s voice began to grow distant as her vision went black and she hit the floor.
Laura Corrigan lived in Durham, England as a single mother. She threw herself at her work so she could provide for her family. She might not have been a CrossFit enthusiast but she stayed pretty active in her daily life. At least she thought so.
But recently she had always felt tired. She dismissed it as just her letting work get to her. Her friends didn’t think so, they were worried about her, and they were right.
Corrigan thought she knew the trick for her fatigue, she had a selection of vitamins and over the counter meds in the hopes they would work. Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Zinc, even Iron – but they did little to help.
After her health didn’t improve after weeks, her friends made 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 wouldn’t be cured so easily.
Another Sleepless Night
While Corrigan drove on the road, she remembered her previous night. Her sons were exhausting her energy as usual. Her youngest son was only a baby and would cry all night.
He didn’t mean to pull her hair or kick her, he was still a baby. But these actions still woke her up. His crying was enough to give her a headache. Then something gave Corrigan a chill that crept up her spine.
Corrigan’s condition was worsening, she was so pale and had never had any energy anymore. She stopped eating as she just didn’t have the appetite for it anymore. Her friends were more worried than ever and they decided it was time she had a second visit to the doctor.
They couldn’t understand that Corrigan, a strong woman, had beaten the flu weeks ago but was still declining in health. Everyone was fearing about what was happening to her.
The doctor took Corrigan much more seriously the second time after seeing her condition. He ran tests to see what the cause of her illness could be. But every single test came back with nothing. According to them, she was perfectly healthy, which obviously wasn’t the case.
The doctor resorted to an elimination approach. She was put on all the antibiotics the doctor could think of. He hoped to learn more from her reaction to all of the courses she was on. But in the end quite the opposite happened.
Having Its Effects
Corrigan wasn’t feeling any better, in fact, she was only feeling worse. Her body started aching and she could barely stay awake these days. Her mental health was the next thing in danger as everything else deteriorated.
Everyone close to Corrigan was so worried. Maybe there wasn’t an illness and it was just in her head? Corrigan knew this wasn’t the case. Something inside her body wasn’t right. Even her friends knew her and knew something was severely wrong.
Corrigan knew her doctor couldn’t do anything more to help her. Instead, she decided to seek answers online. She went on online chats with experts and even tried herbal remedies. Nothing was helping.
As Corrigan looked to anybody for answers, no one could tell her what she needed to hear. She felt so alone. Maybe it was mental and it was all inside her head.
Corrigan finally decided to go back to doctors and get a second opinion. She had to wait a few weeks for the results of her tests to come back. All the while she was still in pain.
The phone rang and the doctor asked her to come in and talk to him. She preferred to speak in person anyway. But after leaving the doctor’s office she felt a knot in her stomach that made it difficult to breathe.
Corrigan felt a huge wave of fatigue hit her. The workday was nearly done, she just had to ignore her body – and her doctor – and just thought of her sons back home. She found that the images that flashed through her mind helped.
She was thinking about what they’d get up to when she got home from work. This distraction was enough to keep her working and made her feel almost alright. But this didn’t last long.
Hitting The Breaks
Back in the car once more, Corrigan was looking forward to being at home. She missed her boys and needed their light-heartedness to erase this weird day she’s been having.
She arrived at a crossroads and made the turn towards home. She was halfway there when it happened again. The intense wave of tiredness. Except this time, she felt dizzy. Then something else happened and she lunged for the brakes.
A Warm Embrace
She managed to pull her car over safely and gave in to the pain. Everything hurt. She gave herself a few more moments. Waiting for it to pass. When it finally did, she started towards home once more.
Arriving home, she welcomed her boys into her arms with a big smile and hug. She asked if they were hungry and made dinner. But there was only one thing on her mind.
She needed to think and she didn’t want to panic the boys so she decided to go for a family coastal walk. This was one of her favorite things to do.
Being with her boys and by the sea, the worries about her health faded and she began to think more calmly. She was going to spend the rest of the evening with her little men and look for advice tomorrow. Little did she know, it wasn’t going to go as planned.
Refreshed and revitalized, Corrigan and her boys arrived back home. Finally, some time to relax, she thought. But as soon as she sat down on the sofa, the boys got out the lego set.
They weren’t done playing yet, and they definitely weren’t finished spending time with mom. Sighing lovingly, she got down on her knees and began to play. Then everything changed.
As she was playing her eyelids grew heavy, her breath shallow, she couldn’t hold on. Exhausted, Corrigan finally passed out, asleep, mid-lego battle. Her son took a picture of her and she then posted it on Instagram.
But why was she so tired? There was a reason behind all of this. Heart pounding, she decided to reveal the tragic reason as to why she was so tired. She sat behind a desk and started typing.
After becoming sick and tired of her mystery symptoms, Corrigan sought medical advice from a new doctor. Soon after, she was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
This was notably rare for someone in their mid-30’s but doctors were still hopeful for her future. “It was pretty hard to process,” she wrote on her blog, Cancer, Milk & Rainbows. “All I wanted to know was if I was going to die or not and that, they couldn’t really answer.”
Brave And Outspoken
She created a blog and overcame the fear of sharing her own personal story online. Corrigan explains how social media was a great form of therapeutic release and support for her.
“It has helped me, both writing thoughts and feelings down and connecting with others,” she explained. But Corrigan had her own idea of help in mind.
As well as being a member of multiple different societies, Corrigan gave back to her cancer community by raising money for Bowel Cancer UK.
As a keen kayaker and wild swimmer, she completed a one-mile swim despite being seriously ill at the time. She was never happier than when she was near the ocean and surrounded by nature.
It wasn’t long until Corrigan was going for chemo-radiotherapy on a daily basis. And it was around that time that she began to notice the effect her illness was having on her children.
She had to stop breastfeeding her youngest son, Finn. Feeling emotional, she sought solace from her blog-writing. “This has been the hardest part of my journey so far, certainly harder than hearing the diagnosis. He, on the other hand, after just two weeks, is coping amazingly well,” she revealed.
But, Corrigan was a self-confessed “fighter.” She took every day as it came and took every new challenge in her stride. To try to make sense of what was happening and to document her battle, she turned more and more to her writing.
“I write when I can and have connected with other people a lot that way, as well as in Facebook support groups.” Almost one year on from her original diagnosis, Corrigan continues to fight her illness.