On the 7th March 2005 at 49 years of age I was told I had bowel cancer which had spread to my liver.
My husband of 30 years had died of a heart attack on 26th march 2004 at the age of 54.
It all started with a visit to my gp because I had a stabbing pain in my side under my ribs on my right side. He thought I had gall stones so sent me for an ultra sound. Got a call from doctor to come in right away for the results.
They said yes I had one large ball stone but it showed a change in my liver. So the doctor sent me for a CT scan. I remember that day like it was yesterday I had a CT scan at 9 AM on that Friday morning. Then took my mum and sister shopping for the day.
I wasn't really worried at that stage as my GP said it was probably a fatty liver and nothing to worry about. I had a late appointment with my GP for that afternoon of the 7th March 2005. I seemed to wait for ever to get in and was the last person in the waiting room. Finally he called me sat me down and gave me tge devastating news. I had a very large tumor in my bowel and another one on my liver.
As I said earlier my husband had died the year before I had 3 grown sons but lived on my own at the time. I sat alone in my car and burst into tears I didn't know what to do. I finally got home called my boys to come over and broke the news to them. Next came rounds of doctor visits specialist colonoscopies pet scans etc. Life was a bit of a blur.
Finally two brilliant doctors - Dr Gallagher and Dr Young from RPA - operated on me on the 15th April 2005. After nearly 9 hours in theater I came to. My boys were there when I woke up. The doctors had removed 1/3 of my large bowel and 60% of my liver. I was lucky that my liver tumor was on the outside of my liver which left 40% to grow back.I spent my 50th birthday in hospital.
After I left hospital I then had chemo for three months as a precaution to make sure they didn't miss anything. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had 2 of the best surgeons to operate on me and do follow ups.
After 3 monthly CT scans and doctor visits for 5 years with a colonoscopy in there as well, I was told I was cancer free. What a great feeling. I still have colonoscopies every 2 years to keep an eye on it and so far no cancerous polyps have been found. My sister and my brother have both had bowel cancer and had parts of their bowels removed.
I am eternally grateful to everyone who helped me get to 14 years cancer free. Thanks to my supportive family - my sons, daughter in laws, my sisters and my mum.
I had no symptoms as far as I can remember.
I'm lucky that I had a gall stone.