Bowel Cancer Stories


Looking back through my Facebook timeline I found a joke between a friend and me about constipation and squatting while pooping. In hindsight, this was most likely my first symptom of bowel cancer. That post was in June 2016 just before my 39th birthday. I was a busy single mum, working full time as a bookkeeper and volunteering as treasurer on the P&C of the kids’ school. On the off weeks when I didn’t have my 3 girls, I was dating and socialising with friends. Life was busy but fun and full of laughs.

I originally noticed rectal bleeding in March 2009. At the time I was 27 years old. After a couple of days of blood in my stool I booked an appointment with a local GP. Several days later I attended the GP appointment and the Doctor performed a rectal exam. The Doctor advised me all was fine in the rectum, and said the bleeding was probably the result of hemorrhoids. I was, however, referred to a specialist for a colonoscopy to make sure. I sat on the referral for a week or two and then booked in the colonoscopy.
I had just turned 39 when I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer.
I remember thinking, ‘This doctor has me mixed up with somebody else. It cannot be me. I don't have a tumour.
‘I’m fit. I surf. I run. I don't smoke. I’m not overweight.

March 1988: I was 1st diagnosed with a Soft Tissue Tumor called (Rhabdomysarcoma) in my right jaw, I had the tumor removed at Prince Of Wales Children’s Hospital and immediately underwent Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. My doctor Professor Vowels told my parents I had a 60-40 chance of survival and was told if the tumor was going to come back it would do so roughly in about 3-4 years…

Funnily enough exactly to the date in Jan 1992 the tumor re-appeared in the same area as the 1st tumor only this time I had a 90-10 survival chance.


Over the last 15 months I have learned many life lessons during this chapter of my life. Most of all, I have learned to put my health first and not to procrastinate because it may be embarrassing or require change. Just because it’s your normal, doesn’t mean it is normal. If you don’t feel right, it never hurts to have a conversation.

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