Bowel Cancer Stories


I was 59 years old and in fairly good health when I was diagnosed with cancer of the left descending colon stage 3B.

I was a dressmaker and theatrical costume maker working casually from home, teaching dressmaking at evening college and volunteering for several not-for-profit organisations.

After 4 pregnancies, I experienced chronic haemorrhoids which caused some occasional discomfort but had no visible bleeding.

I’m a Registered nurse working in aged care so I’m very used to looking after the health of my patients first. I was surprised when my colleagues started telling me they were worried about my health as I looked so pale. I didn’t know what they were all worrying about so didn’t take much notice. Finally the GP I was doing a ward round with one day became very concerned and said I was looking really unwell.

I followed his advice and went to get some blood tests that afternoon. The results came back the next day and my iron levels were dangerously low. I went to hospital that day to have 4 units of blood transfused. The doctors in hospital arranged for me to have a colonoscopy the following week which showed a tumour which they thought was the size of a 5cent piece and hadn’t gone through the bowel wall as yet.

Kim was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2012 and passed away on 8th May 2013. We are just coming up to 6 months since his passing and I am here to share his dreadful journey.

Kim was being treated for constipation, no bleeding or anything to let us know there was a problem. After 10 days he started vomiting and I took him to the hospital in Brisbane. He spent a week in hospital to clear his bowel, then a big op to remove a large cancer in his bowel that had burst through the bowel wall. He had chemo 24/7 but still had lots of pain. Another week in hospital only to be told he had the all clear.

How does a 25 year old guy cope with a cancer diagnosis?

The truth is that it has been hard, and at times terrible for my blooming adult confidence.

Being a typical 25 year old guy, I was out enjoying life and doing all the things 25 year old guys do - hitting the bars, meeting ladies and talking to anyone with a story to tell, all the usual stuff.
This horrible process was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and it is scary at best. But a good sense of humour and being able to have a good laugh can do a lot for your spirit when you are feeling lousy. Support from family, friends, my employer and playing golf also helped me through.

In December 2014, I started to experience severe lower abdominal pain but for a long period I simply ignored it (I thought it would be fine if I just took a couple of Panadol). Later that month I saw my GP who suggested blood and stool tests. These came back showing I had an infection which was treated with antibiotics. The pain subsided but I felt there was still something wrong and I was incredibly bloated.
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