Bowel Cancer Stories


In November 2013, at the age of 32, I had just had a career change after being made redundant and had plans to go on extended travels the following year when I mentioned to my boyfriend that I had experienced bleeding when I went to the toilet that had persisted for a few days on a number of occasions.


From Sydney, Australia. 45 years old. Working mum (2 kids). Ocean swimmer. Bad-ass from way back. Bowel cancer survivor. Now super-bad ass (but the journey was tough).


My mother passed away with breast cancer when I was 10, so I have always been diligent with screening and looking after my health.  I would go to my doctor on a regular basis to make sure everything was all OK.

In February of this year I had been quite tired, had a lot of back and abdominal pain so I went for a check-up with my GP.  Blood tests taken read an Hb of 72 so I was called immediately to go to hospital for a blood transfusion.  From there I underwent a colonoscopy and gastroscopy to find out where the blood loss was coming from.


I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 23 June 2010 at the age of 49. 

My symptoms were terrible – severe stomach pain, vomiting and loss of appetite and energy. It took almost three months of feeling horrible before the doctors worked out what was wrong with me, a period that was made worse by the constant back and forth to the GP for appointment after appointment.  After I was simply discharged after my fourth hospital admission in as many weeks – with continuous vomiting that made a saline drip necessary – I was at my wits’ end.

I was diagnosed in 2008 when I was 54. I had been complaining to doctors for years about various symptoms but I was never sent for tests – not even a bowel screen – until I started bleeding from the rectum.

I’ve been an athlete for more than 26 years, competing in marathons, triathlons, even an IronMan event. When you run a lot, diarrhoea is quite common, so everyone – including doctors – kept telling me that my various symptoms were the result of an intense training schedule. I knew things weren’t right, but it wasn’t until I started bleeding that I was finally sent for tests.
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