Almost exactly 3 months to the day before my 50th birthday, I’ve been diagnosed with bowel cancer.
When my father told me 15-20 years ago that he’d had a colonoscopy and had a few polyps removed, I didn’t give it a second thought. I thought, ‘standard stuff’ for a man his age. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gone and asked for colonoscopy at a much younger age.
Also knowing what I know now, I would have paid closer attention to my early symptoms, before the more noticeable blood in my stool. About 6-9 months ago, I started to have awkward and difficult bowel movements, and lots of variability in my bowel movements.
I was feeling bloated and started having abdominal pain at various times of the month, not just during menstruation. At first, I chalked it up to problems I’d had with a benign ovarian cyst my GP and I were monitoring with ultrasound follow-up, but when I started to see blood in my stool, I knew I shouldn’t ignore it.
Thankfully, so did my GP, and she got my FOB test done immediately, which came back positive, and straight into a specialist for colonoscopy. I am lucky, that as a private patient, I didn’t have to wait. I am also lucky that it looks like we caught it in time.
My colonoscopy uncovered 1 polyp (removed) as well as a reasonable sized malignant tumour. It also uncovered the fact that my ovarian cyst is pressing dramatically in on my bowel. Thankfully, my follow-up CT Scan and blood tests all look good and so far, there does not appear to be any sign that the cancer has spread, and my treatment will be limited to surgery. I do have to be prepared for the chance that there may be something found after surgery, but for now, I know this is out of my control, and am only thinking positive!
Hopefully, I’ll be well recovered from my surgery in time to celebrate my 50th in style in June, which just happens to be Bowel Cancer Awareness Month! So I must do something about that.
In the meantime, I’m joining the Kick Bowel Cancer’s Ass campaign and sharing my story and getting out to all my friends – raise your awareness about bowel cancer, don’t sit on your symptoms, and don’t be afraid to talk about your SHI$£*&!T.