In May 2013 I was admitted to hospital for appendicitis.
Prior to the operation, my surgeon was concerned that my symptoms didn't match up 100% with appendicitis, so he scheduled me for a CT scan instead.
Three years earlier I had passed a large volume of blood in the toilet bowl after going to the toilet. I went to a GP who said not to worry about it unless it happened again. As it didn't happen again I didn't go back to him.
Let me introduce you to an insidious silent killer.
My name is Russ and I have been a Rotarian for 42 years. It was 1996 when I was asked to take on the role of District Chairman for Rotary Bowelscan, a project designed to raise community awareness of bowel cancer and encourage early detection.
With the participation of pharmacies around Australia, Rotary Bowelscan sells test kits designed to detect blood in the stool, which is one of the best early indicators of bowel cancer.
Since having my two little men, I have come to love the philosophy of ‘listen when your body whispers, before it yells at you’. At the age of 38 I am a proud nurse, I take pride in helping others optimise their health, and my friends will attest that I enjoy sharing my views on healthy living. So when I received my stage 1 bowel cancer diagnosis 6 months ago, to say that I was in a world of shock and disbelief is an understatement.
My beloved brother Rob was diagnosed with metastatic stage 4 bowel cancer in October 2017, just before his 44th birthday. His was diagnosed with the disease after having an unusual pain in his abdomen, which led to urgent CT scans. Rob had surgery and chemotherapy, and sadly lost his life in June 2018, 8 months after diagnosis.
In 2008 I had lap band surgery to help reverse obesity. Since having the surgery, I have had routine blood tests every six months.
Prior to one check-up appointment, I noticed a speck of blood in the toilet so during my consultation with my GP (and after she had written a referral for my bariatric specialist) I told her about the blood in the toilet. Straightaway she added this piece of information to the referral just to be sure.