|Carolina's story (33, NSW)|
I was six months pregnant with my first baby when I started experiencing blood in my stool. I talked to my obstetrician, who said that a little bleeding can often happen during pregnancy but that the amount I was experiencing sounded a little suspicious. She referred me to a gastroenterologist and I decided to wait until after my baby was born to book the appointment.
It wasn’t until my baby was six months old and I was still experiencing the bleeding that I decided to finally see the specialist. They discovered a stage one cancerous tumour during a colonoscopy and, shortly after this diagnosis in March 2010, I had surgery (an anterior bowel resection) and was given a colostomy.
Thankfully, the entire cancer was removed in surgery and the colostomy was reversed three months later, so I consider myself very lucky indeed.
There is nothing like being diagnosed with bowel cancer at only 33 years old – with a brand new baby daughter to care for – to make you realise how precious life is.
I live a healthy life, exercise regularly and I never thought this sort of thing would happen to me. After the diagnosis I was so scared of dying and scare of missing the opportunity to be around to look after my family, to enjoy my beautiful baby, to be a mother and a wife. I am lucky and grateful I always had the support of my husband during this difficult time. Now I’m extremely positive and totally confident that everything will be OK, but it was pretty scary experience for a while there.
I try to live my life to the full, smile and be happy everyday, love my family and be loved by them and enjoy every second of everyday, as life is too short and it is extremely precious. If you think you need a check-up, please don’t wait. Go as soon as you experience any unusual symptoms do it for yourself and for your family.