Bowel Cancer Stories

In 2014 I received my first National Bowel Cancer Screening Program kit as I had turned 50. I put off doing the test for some time because I had none of the symptoms so thought I did not need to do it. My wife convinced me to do the test and thank goodness I did because shortly after sending it away I received the news that I had a positive result. It was a huge shock.
My GP then referred me to a gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy. During the scope they found a cancerous polyp, so I was then referred to a surgeon and within a couple of weeks I was in hospital having the cancerous polyp removed.
The surgeon removed 40 cm of my bowel to successfully remove the cancerous polyp and lymph nodes for testing. The operation was a success and I did not need a stoma.

When I was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer I was 61 years old, fit and healthy (at least I thought I was).  I was working in the entertainment industry with a part time job as a spruiker (sales motivator) and also did freelance work in the entertainment industry as a DJ/MC for various events.

Approximately 6 years ago, during a prostate check at the local GP, my doctor found a mass on my appendix, protruding into my bowel, fortunately this was benign, however I still required a resection to the right side of my large bowel.

A cyst on her appendix, bowel cancer, breast cancer and a mastectomy hasn’t stopped Robyn from appreciating all the little things in life. “I love watching the sunrise and am grateful for every day I have. Hopefully my story will help someone out there to not feel alone while they are going through what I went through.”

I have two sons Byron (25) and Aaron (19) and a loving and caring husband Graeme (my rock). I have always been a very active person. I started playing netball when I was five and only finished when I was 40. I also enjoyed running, aerobics, touch footy and coached netball and touch footy.

I’d had rectal bleeding and unusual bowel habits for six to eight weeks before going to see my GP in 2008. I was 60 at the time. My GP gave me an internal examination but found nothing. Nonetheless, he was insistent that I see a specialist and made the call while I sat in his surgery, getting me an appointment for the very next day. 

I had a colonoscopy within the week and was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer.  I had a CT scan the next day, then an ultrasound for tumour staging.

Ever since a parting gift of a Giardia parasite from a family holiday in Thailand, I’d grown used to the occasional sight of blood and mucous in my stools, finding it more annoying than alarming. My naturopath thought I’d probably picked up another parasite, which made sense as a stool test around 12 months prior had returned normal. What else could it be, after all I was only 42.
Just to be on the safe side, my GP referred me to a gastroenterologist for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. I left the recovery room, the gastroenterologist’s words still fresh in my ears, ‘You’re one lucky woman. I removed a polyp from your bowel (rectum) but it all looks fine.’ Five days later came the unexpected phone call – the histopathology showed the polyp was far from fine, with cells outside the polyp’s margins indicating that the cancer had spread. How far he couldn’t say.
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