Stacey B's bowel cancer story (husband diagnosed age 36, WA)

My husband Peter was diagnosed with bowel cancer in June 2012 at age 36. He was referred for a colonoscopy by our GP as he had been experiencing rectal bleeding and a consistent change to his bowel habits.

The colonoscopy results found a tumour which was biopsied and confirmed to be cancerous. Peter was then sent for a CT scan and MRI to confirm locations and check for the possibilities of metastasis.

We have a large family with six children, and at the time our youngest was just four weeks old and our eldest just under nine.

We live in remote WA and had to move our whole family 400km to Perth for eight weeks for Peter’s radiotherapy. The kids and I drove him to the hospital everyday (40 minutes to an hour each way) for his treatment and I attended most of the specialist appointments with my husband when possible.

As a young family, it would have been nice to have had more support with the kids. Family was able to help but most of them also had other commitments and responsibilities. Also, older kids can join Canteen but there is nothing for young children. So much focus on what needs to be done for Daddy doesn't leave time (or energy) for doing a lot of fun stuff for the kids.

Having said that however, it was such a blessing for us to have had our kids during all the treatment. It is impossible to “wallow” with young children around. We managed to keep our sense of humour and a positive attitude, which, I believe, played no small part in Peter’s ability to cope with some of the side effects, and prevented us all from being overcome with the situation.

I certainly recommend to those of you reading this, to please be aware it can happen to young people and to young families like ours. We were lucky our GP was so thorough and referred my husband for a colonoscopy; otherwise he may have just been told it was a haemorrhoid and nothing else would have been done. And we really love having our husband and Daddy around!





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