Unlike many people, I had severe symptoms for some time before I got my diagnosis. For four weeks during the time of seeing my doctor and being diagnosed I had very bad stomach pains and was completely unable to eat.
I was diagnosed in 2008 when I was 54. I had been complaining to doctors for years about various symptoms but I was never sent for tests – not even a bowel screen – until I started bleeding from the rectum.
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.
On 24 January 2010, The Sunday Mail in Queensland ran an article on celebrity health; I was going to turn the page until I saw Lara Bingle in a bikini!
Being a true Aussie bloke, I decided the article needed a closer look and found myself reading a genuinely interesting story.
When I was diagnosed with stage III bowel cancer in 2006, I was 45 years old.
I am a wife and a mother of three (now 23, 20 & 16 years old) and an office manager.
I had no family history of bowel cancer and I led a healthy lifestyle before my diagnosis, although I was told further along the process that I carry the HNPCC gene, which is a strong indicator of the disease.