16
Jul
2015

Steven's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 31, NSW)

My message to anyone reading this is to be persistent. If you feel there is something wrong, push your doctor to do something about it.
 
In Jan 2013 I visited my GP as I was experiencing stomach pains. The doctor decided it was probably related to certain foods in my diet so didn't carry out any investigations.

At the time I felt I wasn't being taken seriously because I was so young.

In February the pains became severe so I called an out of hours GP who suggested stomach ease medication and to see my GP for further investigation. The pain passed again that same evening.

In April the severe pain came back again. This time I saw a different GP who ordered x-rays and blood tests. The blood test showed I was anaemic so the GP ordered further tests which confirmed anaemia. A faecal Occult Blood Test also confirmed blood in my stools, which I had never visibly seen myself.

My GP referred me to a specialist for a colonoscopy which I had in June 2013. Deep down I knew bowel cancer was a possibility but it was still a shock to be told this news.
 
A week later I had surgery to re-sect my bowel, followed by six months of chemo, which was hard work. The fatigue was the worst but I also had pins and needles and nausea plus other side effects. A follow-up scan showed a single spot on my lung. I went to Sydney to be seen by a cardiothoracic surgeon who performed my surgery (a wedge re-section to my lung) in July 2014. I then had another round of chemo which lasted till Jan 2015.
 
Unfortunately I developed a blood clot in a large vein near my heart, which required me to go back to hospital for treatment. Although it's under control now I feel like it has slowed my recovery down a bit but I'm getting there.
 
Thankfully my follow up CT and colonoscopy have been all clear.
 
On a side note, I managed to play one final game of rugby league last Saturday. It was a great day. The whole club clapped me onto the field. Was good to play just one more game so I could finish playing footy on my terms because I chose to, not because cancer made me!
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