In early November 2010 I noticed some weight loss and a change in my bowel habits, including rectal bleeding. I went to the doctor in mid-November and was diagnosed with anaemia and booked in for a colonoscopy later that month. I was told on the day of the colonoscopy that I had bowel cancer.
The next step was surgery, a high anterior resection, which was done in mid-December.
It all happened so quickly that I didn’t really have time to dwell on what was going on, but it never occurred to me before my diagnosis that I might have bowel cancer. I was so young and so busy caring for my two beautiful teenage children that I just didn’t think I was a likely candidate for the disease. But my father had a very similar surgery just eight weeks before mine so it can certainly be said that bowel cancer runs in my family.
My diagnosis affected my husband and children very badly, and it has been hard to live with the ongoing worry that the cancer might return. But I have been given the all clear for now so we just have to accept that and try to move on.
If I have learned anything, it’s that this cancer does not discriminate. Age, gender and state of health don’t necessarily matter – it can happen to anyone. I really think people should be made more aware of that fact so I try to talk about bowel cancer whenever I can. We really need to get the message out there.
It’s okay to talk about it and the problems you are having. Bowel Cancer is not a dirty cancer and until people realise this, it’s going to be an ongoing problem. I believe the more we talk about it and understand it, perhaps more people will survive it.
Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, its not the end.
Real Life Stories
|Jo's story (45, NSW)|
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 44 years old. I went to see my GP after about twelve months of changed bowel habits and intermittent rectal bleeding, which I assumed was caused by haemorrhoids. The pain I had been experiencing on and off had become quite bad, so I wanted to talk to my GP about other treatment options. I [ ... ]