22
Mar
2016

Kerryn's bowel cancer story (mother diagnosed age 54, QLD)

It can be a very lonely and tough time caring for a parent with bowel cancer.

Mum's father had died from bowel cancer in his early 60's so she knew her risk of developing the disease was higher.

She had never experienced any symptoms but asked her GP in New Zealand to have tests done after her friend was diagnosed with early stage bowel cancer. Mum was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer just before Christmas 2011. She was only 54 and I was just 26.
 
Ten days following her diagnosis, mum had a partial colectomy. She received fortnightly chemo after this for several months and all appeared to be going well. One year later after a routine follow up, doctor’s discovered the cancer had metastasised and she had secondary liver cancer. This was unable to be operated on as too much of her liver was affected. Mum underwent palliative chemotherapy, and in the final stages radiation for a tumour in her back.
 
I was living in Australia when mum was diagnosed. When she received her stage four diagnosis, I travelled fortnightly for several months, then moved home to New Zealand to live with and care for her for the 12 months before she died.
 
I felt very lonely in my grief at times, particularly after mum died and I returned to my husband and life back in Australia. I would have loved to have had someone to talk to around my age, who had been in a similar situation caring for a parent.

This has really motivated me to be involved in this community and I am happy to talk to anyone who might be where I was a few years ago.
 
Banner Bowel Cancer Australia Helpline
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Bowel Cancer Australia Bowel Cancer App