21
Mar
2016

Michael's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 33, QLD)

“I have three great kids age five, nine and 13, and my misses who I need to stick around for. At this point, I’ll do anything it takes to make sure I get to see them grow up, make sure the mortgage gets paid, and that they are ok.”
 
Despite visiting four different GPs over a seven month period, it may very well have been my partner who saved my life.

Every time I saw a GP my symptoms were put down to constipation. I was given different medications to try but nothing worked.

I hadn’t had a proper bowel motion in seven months but felt there was always the downwards feeling. It was as though I needed to go to the toilet, felt the urgency to get to a toilet, but once I went, there was nothing or a motion the size of a teaspoon would come out. It eventually got to the point where I’d have an accident if I didn’t make it to a loo in time which was bloody embarrassing.

I’m a truck driver, so you can image how hard it is to try and hang on when you’re on a long distance drive; yet no one was listening to me.
 
Eventually, my partner said she’d had enough and sent me to the hospital where they scanned me and told me I was; pardon the pun, “full of shit”. I was told to drink eight cups of Movicol and go home. This of course didn’t work, so I went back to the hospital the next day and they gave me colon prep. So much overflow came out that I experienced relief and returned to work on the Monday.

By Thursday evening however, the pain became unbearable and I was sent to Roma Hospital, given some sort of drink and sent home. On the Friday I told work what had been happening and they sent me home to get help.

My partner took me straight to hospital and I was admitted, given pain killers and a nasal gastric tube. The doctors treating me thought I had Crohn’s Disease and were treating me with nil by mouth, IV fluids, steroids and antibiotics until I was well enough to undergo a colonoscopy and endoscopy.

This was the first time someone had ever mentioned or suggested I have a colonoscopy or endoscopy.

The results showed a tumor and my surgeon told me I would need to have a section of my bowel removed, but they needed to run more tests.

Finally I went home but within 24 hours, I was rushed back to hospital by ambulance, pumped full of pain killers and scheduled for emergency surgery. I underwent a complicated eight hour surgery to remove what the surgeon described as an unusual and nasty cancer.

Three weeks post-op my weight dropped from 84kg to 58.8kg.

Following my surgery, I had an MRI which showed malignant tumours in my liver. I was immediately re-admitted to have these removed and thankfully they were able to get to all the affected areas. I am now recovering from a liver resection, and hoping to start chemotherapy soon.

I’m just grateful my partner got sick of me complaining and took me to the doctors herself, because no doctor was listening to me up until that point. She may have just saved my life.
 
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