02
Feb
2018
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Tabatha's Kick Ass Story

I was diagnosed with stage 2b bowel cancer in August 2017 at the age of 39....

During the past few years of my life I always experienced fatigued, stomach upsets and cramping. When I was in my late 20's all my blood tests would show up that I had Coeliac Disease and every time I experience any symptoms I would just put it down to Coeliac Disease. That I either drank or ate something that had gluten in it, that would cause the upset stomachs and pain, it became my "Normal"....

I was living in Victoria in 2016 / 2017 and although I experienced pain on a weekly basis, I ignored it and tried to eat gluten free and hoped eventually the symptoms would get better and I could feel at ease, but it never did.

It wasn't until I moved back to Perth in March 2017 that I was well over extremely feeling tired, cranky and started to really notice blood (clots) in my stool, that very much concerned me, as it had never happened previously.

I had just started a new job in mining and my life back in Perth was working out really well, except I was still experiencing upsets and stomach pain, was extremely fatigued and now the blood in my stools were getting much worse. I was also feeling nauseas and light headed, there was something definitely not right.....

I made an appointment with my GP who didn't mess around, after explaining my symptoms and what I was experiencing, she organised a colonoscopy for me and within 5 weeks, I had an appointment at the hospital.
I was confident I was going to be told I 100% had Coeliac Disease (something I already knew), once I awoke from the colonoscopy, the Gastroenterologist came to see me (hmmm quite unusual) as he wasn't talking to any of the other patients after their colonoscopies.

"Ok, here goes Tabs. You have Coeliac Disease", but no that wasn't what he said, he told me he found a 3cm tumour in my colon and no matter what it was, it would need to be removed....
It hadn't really hit me what this could mean, me having cancer, no chance, right!!!!

After the colonoscopy I was sent for a CT Scan and told I could go home and rest. I honestly did not give it a second thought, because either way, it was going to be removed...

A week later, I was back in the Gastro dude’s office and before my mum and I had a chance to sit down his exact words "Yep, it's Cancer"... OMG WTF!!!!!

How did my mum and I react to that news... Welllllll I took my mum to a nice water view bar and we enjoyed a stiff drink to let what I had just been told sink in. We called my grandma and told her the news (as she is also a bowel cancer survivor and both my mum and grandma are my rocks) and we all remained positive on what journey I was about to endure...

By the next month, the 4th October, I was in having surgery to have the little critter removed out of my body - "Bye Felicia, no more tumour".

A couple of weeks after the surgery I received news that the tumour had perforated through the bowel wall and I would need to go through 6 months of preventative chemotherapy, of which I am currently at the half way mark. Up to round 5 of 8 rounds and I can honestly say that chemotherapy is quiet a debilitating experience and I can really empathise with anyone having to endure chemotherapy. Although on a positive, it's there to save our lives....

My journey of coming home to Perth and finding out I had bowel cancer, although it was tough to take, has been a positive experience. I am surrounded by lots of support and people I love and who love me, I have also in the midst of it all, met nine other beautiful amazing women around Australia who have gone through bowel cancer or going through it have been there for me to vent to, talk to or have a great laugh with. Then in January 2018, I took the courage to get on a plane to Brisbane to meet them all for one of their birthdays & post chemo parties...

Never leave it too late, listen to your body. If something is not right, it generally isn't. Despite having bowel cancer, I feel that things happen for a reason and my journey to come back to Perth to be closer to my family, saved my life.

I am a lover of life, love and happiness and I have made it my mission to ensure I am going to get through bowel cancer as positively as I can....