08
Dec
2015

Adam's bowel cancer story (wife diagnosed age 31, NSW)

8th July 2014 was one of the biggest days in our lives with the arrival of our new born son... we were settled at home, work was going well and we were happy, having been married for only 10 months.
 
During the pregnancy, Katie often complained of "women's pain" down low - it was put down to being the usual symptoms of pregnancy such as Hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, following the birth of our boy, the pain failed to subside and the lumps were getting larger. To ensure there were no surprises we decided to get a colonoscopy.
 
I distinctly remember being with Katie when she awoke from the brief day procedure and the look on the doctor's face - he told us it required a further colonoscopy, which was organized quickly.
 
A couple of weeks later, we went back to the doctors clinic and were devastated to find out that the look on the doctor's face was correct. Katie had colorectal cancer. We both sat there in streaming tears as we were told the cancer was at stage 3, borderline stage 4 and to make the situation even more confronting that Katie would likely require a "bag" for the rest of her life.
 
It was almost like time stood still - absolute shock and devastation. How could this happen? Katie was healthy, young, and we had a 3 month old baby - surely this information wasn't right? Unfortunately it was....
 
The next couple of weeks were a blur as we met with a fantastic team including our colorectal surgeon, our cancer support nurse and the talented team at the Royal North Shore Hospital. We were very privileged to have a cancer support nurse assigned to work with us from the North Shore hospital - with a compassionate attitude and genuine interest in our case helped us book Katie's Chemo & Radiation appointments, scans and doctor's appointments - this made such a difference to us and helped us to feel relatively calm and in good hands.
 
Over the following months, Katie endured chemo & radiotherapy which went well but left her tired and worn down (or was that looking after the baby?). In January of 2015 Katie had bowel surgery which would remove the affected section but resulted in having a stoma and colostomy for the rest of her life. The last 10 months have been all about getting back to health and learning to adapt to a new normal. Thankfully with the advances in technology and the support services available have helped with this adjustment, we are just very thankful to have my wife and our son's mother around to see him grow up.
 
Looking back, it has been quite the journey since our marriage just over two years ago...we are incredibly thankful to have our son, and access to an amazing public health system where, when put to the test, in our experience could not be faulted.
 
We never expected this to happen to us, I suppose you never do....
 
 
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