I was diagnosed with Stage 3c bowel cancer at 45. This was after a series of tests over six- months trying to understand my vomiting bouts - which resembled stomach virus symptoms (I was originally treated for giardia) then discovering anaemia, but this was put down to heavy periods.
After an ultrasound which didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary and the vomiting bouts not easing, my GP referred me to a Gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy and endoscopy.
A large tumour was discovered in my ascending colon and then a colon resection and six-months of oral and intravenous chemo ensued.
At the time I had two young boys, with my eldest son at 14 having been diagnosed with cancer the year prior, our family life was unsettled. Outwardly my husband Paul was our rock and we held it together, but my little ones didn’t know what had hit them. Slowly we built our family confidence and our lives returned to our new normal. Our friends and family so important to us.
At 48 I was experiencing incredibly painful and very heavy periods. Despite my medical history, my concerns were dismissed and were put down to perimenopause.
At this stage I was just at annual CT scans (1st year 3 monthly, 2nd year 6 monthly then 3rd year annually).
It was my annual CT scan that indicated my cancer had metastasized to my ovaries and within my peritoneum.
I underwent a 9-hour peritonectomy surgery with more bits of my body removed and with hipec chemo and another 6 months of chemo followed.
It was hard going but again after about 12 months, life slowly, outwardly returned to another new normal. My husband being our constant rock and again with the help of our beautiful family and friends.
Since then, I have three-monthly scans and in 2021 we found that my cancer had again recurred within my peritoneum and I underwent a 12-hour second peritonectomy surgery, with more bits of me being removed. Hipec chemo followed by another five-months of chemo.
Recovery was a little more difficult this time, having experienced a pulmonary embolism a day after surgery.
After 9 months post-surgery and chemo I’m so very grateful to be living my new full life again.
I’m grateful for every single moment I have.
Statistically perhaps I shouldn’t be here. Thank goodness I am, and I count every single day as an amazing blessing that some amazing scientist or doctor is getting closer to finding a cure for this disease.
In February this year my beautiful sister in law organised a fundraiser for Bowel Cancer Australia to help educate and raise funds to contribute to enable this vital research.