Christine's bowel cancer story (husband diagnosed at 56, QLD)

Kim was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2012 and passed away on 8th May 2013. We are just coming up to 6 months since his passing and I am here to share his dreadful journey.

Kim was being treated for constipation, no bleeding or anything to let us know there was a problem. After 10 days he started vomiting and I took him to the hospital in Brisbane. He spent a week in hospital to clear his bowel, then a big op to remove a large cancer in his bowel that had burst through the bowel wall. He had chemo 24/7 but still had lots of pain. Another week in hospital only to be told he had the all clear.

That is where cancer is clever, it hid until a couple of weeks after being given the all clear, then it showed a reading higher than when he had the bowel cancer. The PET scan showed multiple mets in his abdomen and also in his liver. It was downhill from there. Multiple hospitalisations in emergency situations by ambulance but further surgery was ruled out due to the amount of mets. They gave him 2 ½ years but he only lasted 11 months.

Kim’s end was dreadful, his kidneys started failing, even after having a stent put in. The doctor and his team came into see us to have “the talk”, due to failing kidneys he could have no more chemo. Kim asked how long he had left, they said a couple of months but he went straight to palliative care and lasted 17 days.

After 2 days in palliative care he suffered a series of fits which left him unconscious for 2 days. When he woke up and saw me he said “who are you?” Luckily some of his memory came back, he did recognise me and our kids. We got to say goodbye but it was so difficult.

My sister and brother in law came over from England and were here when he died. I used to ask him if this was the day he was going to leave me, he always shook his head, until 7th May 2013 and he nodded. The next day he was unconscious all day, I spent the entire day with him. Went home for dinner and while we were all having dinner and a glass of wine I got the call to say it was imminent but he had already gone. Kim was a chef and I think he chose to go while we were all together celebrating his life and talking about him. Kim was 56 when he passed away.

Life is weird, our children have had their birthdays since he died (14, 19 and 21), we still have to face Christmas and my birthday – I never expected to be a widow at aged 54 and our retirement plans are in ruins. But I keep being told “life goes on” so I am also trying to move on.




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