09
Apr
2014
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Rowan's bowel cancer story (diagnosed age 31, VIC)

In May 2013 I was admitted to hospital for appendicitis. 

Prior to the operation, my surgeon was concerned that my symptoms didn't match up 100% with appendicitis, so he scheduled me for a CT scan instead.

Three years earlier I had passed a large volume of blood in the toilet bowl after going to the toilet. I went to a GP who said not to worry about it unless it happened again. As it didn't happen again I didn't go back to him.

Unfortunately the CT scan showed a large growth in my bowel and suddenly I was scheduled for more and an appendectomy. At the time, my wife was seven and a half months pregnant and she had to sleep on a roll-out bed in the hospital by my side.

After undergoing a RHS hemi-colectomy and I was out of ICU, the surgeon told me he had removed a tumour the size of a tennis ball out of my bowel. Thirty-one lymph nodes and 50cm of bowel had also been removed.

It turned out that the cancer had already spread to two of the lymph nodes. I had had stage C bowel cancer yet hadn't experienced any symptoms...in fact in three years I had only taken one sick day off work.

I'm currently undertaking six months of chemotherapy which is due to finish in November as well as taking Oxaliplatin with Xeloda tablets. I started being canulated, but due to how badly my arms took the Oxaliplatin, I got a PICC line 5 rounds in and that has been much easier.

I have been able to continue working through most the chemo and only take a couple of days off post-treatment. I can't wait for the treatment to finish, but I am also so scared that it has spread. I have to wait for the next CT scan which is scheduled for six weeks after my last treatment.

I found out post-surgery that bowel cancer runs in my family and I also have Lynch Syndrome. Our little boy was born the day before my second treatment, and the thought of him growing up without a father scares me sick.