Rhonda's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 48, NSW)

After experiencing rectal bleeding I took myself off to the doctor for a check up. My GP recommended I have a colonoscopy, which I almost canceled thinking I was over reacting, but only that one of my closest girlfriends parents had both been diagnosed with bowel cancer, made me decide to go ahead with the test. I am greatful now I did.

During the colonoscopy I had a 3cm polyp removed which a week later I was told was cancerous and that I would need to be referred to a Colorectal surgeon. During my colonoscopy and the removal of the polyp my bowel was perforated, which no one seemed to realize until a week later, I became to get really unwell and was admitted to hospital and required 30cm of my bowel to be removed. It all happened so fast, like it was almost not real.

I have been given the all clear, and require blood tests every three months for the next 3 years and then every 6 months for a further 2 years.

To be honest I don’t know a lot about my diagnosis, all I was told was that I had cancer of the bowel and that standard practice was to remove 30cm of my bowel, which they did. There was no need for any further surgery or treatments or a stoma.

It’s been very difficult emotionally, as it all happened fast I felt like I didn’t have a choice, I was just told we are going to operate. I tried to remain positive. It was difficult waiting to be operated on as I had little or no symptoms and could not understand that if I felt fine why I am having a major operation.

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