After two years of misdiagnoses, on the 10/05/2021 at age 29, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer.
Being a new mum, my symptoms of fatigue and pain in the bottom were obviously blamed on post birth scenarios.
I knew something wasn’t right and kept pushing for answers. The list was endless ‘it could be: Chrons, IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, endometriosis, vaginal prolapse, because ‘you’re overweight’, uterine fibroids as so on.
After presenting to the emergency department several times in agony, they finally suggested to my GP to organise an ultrasound. It was only then; they discovered the mass. From that day, it was an absolute whirlwind. I was kind of relieved, they had found something and that I wasn’t going crazy.
I was sent for a CT scan, which confirmed a grapefruit sized mass just inside my rectum. Two days later, I was having a PET scan and two days after that, I was having emergency surgery to have a colostomy bag, as my bowel was at risk of obstruction.
Not long after surgery, I started a long course radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Daily visits to the hospital and six chemotherapy tablets a day (except on the weekend, to give my body a chance to recover).
Once this was completed, I was referred to a specialist Cancer Centre, as my surgery was going to be extremely complex. Unfortunately, when we arrived at the hospital, we were told that the cancer has spread and I now am Stage 4.
They sent me home, with a new portacath in place, to start seven rounds of chemotherapy.
Each week got harder and harder, and I never would have gone through with it, if it wasn’t for my loving husband, children, family and friends.
They were happy with how the liver metastasis responded to treatment and booked me in for my major bowel surgery on the 10/02/2022.
The surgery included the following procedures: Extra levator abdominoperineal resection, sacrectomy, left pelvis sidewall excision, posterior vaginectomy, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, plastic surgery repair, urinery stents, removal of nerves in my left hip, and stoma completion surgery.
I am now writing this from my hospital bed, where I have been since the 10/02/2022. Due to the plastic surgery, I am unable to lay on my back, or sit on my bottom. So, I have been rolling from side to side, every two hours.
This will continue for another couple of weeks, before I can be considered for discharge.
It’s unknown to me at this stage, what the future means, if I will require more chemotherapy and if the cancer will return.
All I can do is hope for the best and make the most of every moment once I’ve recovered.
I wouldn’t have survived all of this, without my loving husband Jeramie. Who has been there with me, every step of the way. His love and support is endless and immeasurable.
As well as the support of my wonderful parents, brother and husband, mother and father in-law, my brothers and sisters in-law, and best friends Jess and Daniel.