I initially noticed rectal bleeding, had low iron levels and experienced extreme pain when passing stools, but my doctor told me it was haemorrhoids.
After multiple visits to three different GPs over the following years, the pain became unbearable.
I went back to the doctors and said: 'You need to do something, even if it is haemorrhoids I want something done, I can't continue living like this'.
Eventually I was referred for a colonoscopy, but waited months on a list before having surgery for haemorrhoids in January 2017.
That's when the doctor told me that I actually had no haemorrhoids at all, but I had a very large tumour in my colon.
I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer at age 36.
I’m a mum to three children, age 10, 7 and 4.
Telling my kids was honestly the hardest day of my life. Seeing the fear and sadness in their eyes was heartbreaking. However, they have also been my biggest supporters, making superheroes for me to take to treatment and constantly warming me up with their cuddles and love.
I’m also a wife, a daughter, a sister, best friend, weight training partner and a work colleague. My husband has taken on the biggest load but is so positive and supportive it helps me to get through the tough days. And my parents and grandparents - they wish they could have taken my place, but we all choose to believe things happen for a purpose.
Bowel cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers when detected early – but this opportunity was taken away from me.
I no longer have cancer, but I live with the constant fear that it might return.
By sharing my experience I hope to raise awareness about the direct impact of long wait times, both physically and mentally, not to mention a worse prognosis if cancer is present.
Please, join me and Bowel Cancer Australia in petitioning the House of Representatives to guarantee Australians receive timely access to colonoscopy, in accordance with medical guidelines.
Click here to sign the petition now.
Bowel Cancer Advocate