I went back to work, back into the usual routine and felt not to bad. Then two weeks later I was having a coffee with my boss and felt very lightheaded, dizzy and not myself.
I took myself to the hospital where they found I was severely anaemic from internal bleeding over an unknown period.
Alarms were raised shortly after visiting a specialist who organised a colonoscopy to find a 4.5cm tumour in my bowel that was classified as Stage 2 bowel cancer. It all happened quite quickly at the time and shock masked the raw feeling of having cancer so young in one’s life.
I was sent straight for a CT scan to see if it had spread and then the long wait for good / bad news began.
Two very strange limbo weeks passed, and I was booked into surgery where they removed the tumour, 35cm of my bowel, stomach tissue surrounding the bowel and 36 lymph nodes that needed to be tested soon after.
After five nights in hospital I was granted permission to leave with great results from the surgeon. All 36 lymph nodes came back negative for cancerous infection and that meant that I didn't need to undergo chemo (which was the best news one could ask for).
This all made life quite real and scary at the same time. I had no history of bowel cancer in my family and apart from a few visits to the medical center for stitches, my health and fitness was pretty good.
I am a huge advocate for talking about relatable situations like mine with anyone in need, because I myself know how hard it is to open up and talk about these things. But bowel cancer being Australia’s second biggest cancer killer and the increasing trend of young people getting such a disease is quite alarming.
If you’re feeling pain in the stomach, noticing abnormal bowel movements, experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness, do yourself a favour and do the test for your own piece of mind, education and awareness.
Seven months on and I'm healing up great, first check-up was a success and hopefully next one will be too.
Bowel Cancer... You're Never Too Young
Launched in 2014, Bowel Cancer Australia’s ‘Bowel Cancer... You're Never Too Young’ initiative was created to provide bowel cancer resources uniquely designed for younger people.
Offering practical and emotional support for the growing number of young people affected by bowel cancer (and their loved ones), championing what matters most to people living with or beyond young-onset bowel cancer, while challenging perceptions through dynamic campaigning that raises awareness and motivates action in all young Australians.
A highlight of the initiative is Never Too Young Awareness Week - a dedicated week during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month that highlights the unique challenges faced by people who are living with or beyond young-onset bowel cancer.
For further details and to become a #Never2Young Champion head to nevertooyoung.org.au