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.
At the age of 35 I started experiencing rectal bleeding so my GP recommended I have a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy confirmed three growths located within my bowel. After seeing my GP it all happened within weeks, it all seemed so fast yet very professional.
After being diagnosed I was required to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. Two weeks before Christmas I commenced my radiation cycle which included trips to radiology every day for 6 weeks and chemotherapy in a tablet form, which included 3 pills, twice a day.
Three weeks prior to my diagnosis I had been sent a National Bowel Screen Kit. I looked at it and thought, “I should really do that one day”.
Needless to say, I left the kit on the bench and three weeks later ended up seeing my GP on a Wednesday afternoon for a prescription. At the time I complained of having had a slight pain in my abdomen. The GP asked to examine my abdomen and it was then he felt a mass.
When I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer I did not have enough time to feel ‘sad’ or ‘worry’ too much. I am naturally an optimistic person and an ‘action man’. “I can get through this!” I thought to myself.
Prior to my diagnosis at age 26, I had been experiencing dull pains in my pelvic area for 3 to 4 years, extending up through to my belly button and around to the right side of my body.
In May 2011 Mum began losing weight and starting experiencing pain on the right side of her abdomen. A colonoscopy discovered a large mass and she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. She was 66.
Mum was treated with surgery and has since had chemotherapy. Sadly three months ago she started finding it difficult to speak. It seemed as though her nerves were not working effectively, causing her to not be able to eat or talk properly. At that point I didn’t have a good feeling about things so we went back to Mum’s doctor. She was sent for an MRI and they spotted secondaries on her brain.