11
May
2015

Darren's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 46, VIC)

A change of diet is what Darren's specialist advised him to undertake, despite a decade of unusual bowel habits and bleeding.
 
After so many years living with unusual bowel habits, I had come to think of it as pretty normal. I did go to see a specialist early on who examined me but just told me I needed to change my diet.

It was my wife who finally put her foot down and told me that what I was experiencing was not normal. She made me go to the GP but on my initial visit, the GP advised that I was experiencing symptoms related to stress.
 
 
Unconvinced, I went back a second time where I was told a colonoscopy was expensive and that I wouldn't need a scan. I retuned a third time and insisted on a colonoscopy and endoscopy. This resulted in my cancer being diagnosed. I finally had an answer to my symptoms and began chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
 
My diagnosis and treatment hit home pretty hard but I decided to hit it back with all that I had. In March 2014, I underwent an ultra-low bowel resection, where 30cms of bowel was removed and a stoma formed. This was followed by another round of chemotherapy eight weeks after surgery. At the time, I wasn't sure whether the stoma would be permanent or not but it was finally removed after 71/2 months. Some days I think it was more convenient when I had it as my bowel is still unpredictable, but slowly getting better.
 
My message to anyone reading this is to always trust your gut instinct and remember that even on the dark days, the next day will be better.
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