I had rectal bleeding and abdomen pain for a year and a half before finally going back to my GP to tell her I thought the diagnosis of piles was wrong!
At one point, there was so much blood and mucous that I thought I had haemorrhaged. My GP finally referred me to another doctor who gave me a colonoscopy in January 2008, where he discovered a tumour and a number of polyps, which were removed.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 23 June 2010 at the age of 49.
I successfully beat prostate cancer in 2007 so being diagnosed with bowel cancer so soon after came as a real shock.
I did the Rotary bowel cancer test (FOBT) in March 2009 and the results were negative. But later that year, my bowel habits began to change – mainly increased urgency and frequency – and when I twice noticed blood in my stools I decided to take the FOBT again. This time the results were positive.
I was overseas when the results came through in April 2010 so I talked to my GP in Australia over the phone and he recommended that I see a GP in England as soon as possible.
Was it not for me having a totally random check-up back in 1999, I would not be alive today. Still to this day I’m not quite sure what got me to go and have a check up as I was fit and healthy, but what happened next still amazes me.
My Gastroenterologist calls me the “luckiest girl in the world” as having that check up saved my life. Being told at 28 years old that had I not come in for a check-up I would have only had a couple of years to live was a huge wake up call for me.
So to me, raising bowel cancer awareness is not just some slogan to pass around and take lightly, it is my life.
I am 31 years old and happily married with two children (3 years and 18 months old) and another little boy on the way, due any time now. I'm an Australian Federal Police Officer currently attached to the Specialist Response and Security Tactical Response Team.
Bowel cancer was the last thing on my mind when I started to experience small amounts of rectal bleeding.