Ron's story (60, VIC)
I’d had rectal bleeding and unusual bowel habits for six to eight weeks before going to see my GP in 2008. I was 60 at the time. My GP gave me an internal examination but found nothing. Nonetheless, he was insistent that I see a specialist and made the call while I sat in his surgery, getting me an appointment for the very next day.
I had a colonoscopy within the week and was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer. I had a CT scan the next day, then an ultrasound for tumour staging.
Six weeks before surgery I started chemotherapy and radiotherapy for ten minutes a day, five days a week. The side effects were only slight at the time, including nausea, a metallic taste in my mouth and red palms, but by the end I was exhausted and beginning to feel internally sore and uncomfortable.
I continued to work right up until my surgery, during which I was fitted with a stoma, then had eight weeks off to recover. I returned to work whilst still undergoing treatment – I’d have radiotherapy and chemotherapy in the morning, then go to work in the afternoon. The stoma has now been reversed and the clean-up chemotherapy (5-FU) has finished, and I’m cancer-free at this time.