Mary's bowel cancer story (mother diagnosed age 52, VIC)

We went through five extremely painful years.

They were especially hard for my strong, brave and beautiful mother.

She was diagnosed with stage 4 rectal cancer and it was very aggressive.

As the youngest of four children, I was very, very close to my mum.

She had been at home since I was born, so seeing her go through what she did was extremely painful to witness.

She had keyhole surgery, but by the end of the year she was constantly in and out of hospital with infections, only to find out that her cancer had come back and was even more aggressive than at the start.

She received chemo and radiation, followed by an operation that lasted nearly 15 hours, where everything was reconstructed.

It took most of the year for her to recover from such extensive surgery.

I was only 15 at the time, so seeing my mum go through such a heavy and hard year, was difficult, however we managed to keep the humour up, as that’s what one has got to do in such a horrible situation.

When my mum went through the usual 3-5 month scans it was discovered the cancer had metastasised to her lungs.

Again, she had surgery to remove them, finding out after surgery that a third one had started to grow.

As we went into a new year, we found hope.

Her scans came back clear and she was officially one year free of cancer!

We were all so happy and proud, but on Australia Day 2015, mum was taken into emergency due to swelling in her leg which had lasted a few days.

Later, it was discovered she had metastasis growing near her kidney.

Again she underwent surgery to remove the growth, only to find out that it wasn’t completely cleared, and three weeks later it had spread to her liver and lungs.

They gave her an “optimistic” 3 months.

She managed to see me graduate high school and in March 2016 we nursed her at home through her deterioration until she passed away in front of us in the early hours of the morning.

She was extremely strong, brave and gorgeous and left a mark on everyone she met.


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