It was induction day at work, my colleagues and I had to present to the new staff beginning in the upcoming school calendar year. I pushed through the pain, as I didn’t want to let anybody down.

That afternoon, my principal came up to me and said Claudia you don’t look ok, I responded with, oh I think I’m very constipated, I have such a pain in my lower belly. She ordered me to go see a doctor.

I must’ve looked terrible. However, when I got home, I was in so much pain. I took Panadol and thought I’d try and have a sleep. It all went downhill from there.

The pain became so severe, and I began vomiting. My partner became very distressed, he picked me up and took me to the hospital.

After many hours, blood tests, and scans. At 3:35am, the doctor finally came to tell me, that I had a huge mass, blocking my descending colon, the mass had the same characteristics of cancer.

They also believed my colon may have begun to rupture with the build-up of all waste not being able to go anywhere, hence the pain.

I was scheduled for emergency colon resection surgery that afternoon. The surgeon was amazing, he was able to perform the surgery without having to use a stoma.

The next morning the surgeons came in to tell us that it was cancer. They believed they got all of it however, they couldn’t guarantee it hadn’t reached my lymph nodes.

They gave me five weeks to recover from surgery. January 5 2021, I started my first round of chemotherapy, 12 in total. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

I was so scared being diagnosed Stage 3, I was just thinking, I have to fight, fight for my family, fight for me, fight to live.

The last three rounds were the hardest, I was in so much pain. I wasn’t completely recovering before the next round came. However, the oncology doctors and nurses were absolute angels. They supported me with anything that I needed. I am so grateful for our amazing health system. We are so lucky.

I am well into recovery, with six weekly check-ups and three-monthly scans.

I now have returned to work full-time and feel connected again with my community. I cannot thank my partner, my children, and my extended family, friends, colleagues who were there for me whenever I needed.

I know that I am so loved and blessed to have all that I do. My life is just so much brighter now and love I every second of it!