18
Mar
2016

Christopher's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 25, ACT)

How does a 25 year old guy cope with a cancer diagnosis?

The truth is that it has been hard, and at times terrible for my blooming adult confidence.

Being a typical 25 year old guy, I was out enjoying life and doing all the things 25 year old guys do - hitting the bars, meeting ladies and talking to anyone with a story to tell, all the usual stuff.

In 2012 I can recall not feeling so great. I began to experience stomach pains and felt really weak. I started stressing about ageing and began losing some hair.

At the same time my dog seemed to be giving me extra attention and kept cuddling into me and sniffing my stomach. The next day when I went to the toilet there was blood in my urine. I went to an emergency GP at hospital who immediately sent me for an MRI, after I explained there was no logical reason for there to be internally bleeding.
 
The MRI showed malignant active tumor growth nearly three inches long and malignant polyps (they had to do the MRI twice to be sure of the readings, pretty common practice).
 
I required keyhole micro-surgery (through the rear, that way there no scarring to the body), so they did not need to slice into me surgically, which I’m pretty thankful for. It was caught early enough by simple observation from me and my best friend (my dog).
 
Three years on I am still generally clear, but have had some signs of repeating cancer in the same region. In January I had surgery where five small growths were removed.

I have had a colonoscopy every six months since my diagnosis and this will now be extended to every twelve or eighteen months.
 
Since my diagnosis I have a better mental attitude and feel more restful with my thoughts. I have had great support from others and I am willing to help others in their journey. I’ve also stopped stressing so much and my hair has even grown back.

Thankfully I didn’t need to have any chemotherapy and I now have more energy - hitting the gym while you’re waiting for surgery can really pick you up out of the dumps!

I’m just glad to do anything active. I feel like an achiever when things other than thoughts on cancer are taking up my thoughts.
 
I understand the cancer journey can be hard, but there is always a way to find something to look forward to each day.
 
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