Bowel Cancer Australia is calling on all Aussie women to help us kick bowel cancer’s ass!
We’ve put together some key information and resources on bowel cancer to support Aussie women of all ages to be more bowel cancer aware.
Help us kick bowel cancer’s butt, check out our kick ass new Bowel Cancer in Women resources and spread the word with family and friends.
Just after celebrating her 40th birthday Tanya was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer.
Tanya shares her kick ass story to help raise awareness of bowel cancer in women, and that you are never too young to have bowel cancer.
“Looking back through my Facebook timeline I found a joke between a friend and me about constipation and squatting while pooping. In hindsight, this was most likely my first symptom of bowel cancer. That post was in June 2016 just before my 39th birthday.”
“Fast forward to February 2017, I was still suffering from some constipation, which I kept mostly under control by drinking more water and taking Metamucil supplements. But then I started to notice some blood on the toilet paper when I wiped and a little blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement.”
“I was concerned about the blood and change in bowel movements, so I made an appointment with my GP. She examined me and said I had an anal fissure and this was the cause of the bleeding. So, I left the doctors with a sense of relief that it was just a fissure and nothing more to worry about and I needed to make sure I moved around more, ate more fibre and drank more water.”
“Skip ahead to July 2017, I started getting stomach pains and I would have to rush to the toilet and the pain and cramps I experienced could only be compared to labour pains… I knew something was not right!”
“I made an appointment again with my GP, this time I could only get in to see a locum doctor. He didn't seem overly concerned and suggested I wait a couple of weeks and if I still was having these symptoms to come back. I wasn’t happy with this and went over everything again and said I just don’t think this is something normal and I think it needs further investigation. Reluctantly he wrote me a referral to a General Surgeon for a consult and said he was sure they wouldn’t find anything wrong.”
“Thursday 27th July, I awoke from my colonoscopy, the doctor walked into the recovery room and made a beeline to my bed. ‘I'm sorry I wish I had better news,’ he said, ‘I've found a tumour, you need to come see me tomorrow’. I can't remember anything anyone said to me after that, I just broke down crying.”
“I am now at the halfway mark of my treatment and it hasn’t been a walk in the park! But at the end of the day, I'll do whatever I need to do to kick this cancer in the arse and try to keep smiling and laughing.”
“Out of this whole experience, the one thing that has been constant is my feeling of being the odd one out. When I walk into a waiting room for treatment or a specialist’s appointment I get funny looks from the people in the waiting room. First, it's a look of ‘what is she doing here’, then after I come out looks of sympathy.”
“Even after radiation/chemo, surgery and now in the middle of chemo again, I’ve looked healthy! I don’t look like a stereotypical cancer patient with no hair and looking sickly (although there have been quite a few days when I've felt like a cancer patient due to the side effects of the treatments).
“Every medical person I have met along the way is shocked at my diagnosis and has said to me I am not the normal bowel cancer patient they see. I am young(ish), fit, healthy, not overweight etc. etc. so this disease is still very much seen as an older person disease even in the medical community”.
“This is why it is crucial if you have any symptoms at all that you are concerned with, request to have a further investigation and DO NOT let anyone tell you, you are too young to get bowel cancer! If I hadn’t pushed the GP in July for further investigation my cancer may have spread to other organs and I’d be Stage 4. If my GP in February sent me for further investigation maybe I would have been Stage 1 or Stage 2 and I wouldn’t be undergoing such intensive treatment?”
“I would not under any circumstances wish or want anyone to go through what I’ve been through over the past several months! It has been at times an emotional and physical hell! I am truly blessed to have wonderful supportive kids, partner, family, friends and work to help me get through this difficult time.
“If my story can prompt just one person to go to the doctors and get an early diagnosis, then my journey has been all worth it!”