They removed 2 high grade polyps and 1 low grade polyp. When I left the hospital, they said I would need to have a follow up colonoscopy in 12 months.
When 12 months passed, I rang the out-patient desk at the hospital to check about the appointment but was told by the nurse that a doctor had reviewed my case and determined (without seeing or speaking with me) that I was ok to wait another 12 months, until April 2016, to receive the follow-up colonoscopy.
By August 2016, I was becoming very worried and so I rang the hospital again.
I was told that if I wanted to have my colonoscopy at my local hospital in Ballarat, it would be a further 6-month wait, as there was no more money budgeted at that stage for colonoscopies.
She then added that I could get a colonoscopy more quickly if I went to a small country hospital in Maryborough.
I just wanted to have it done, so I agreed and received a colonoscopy in Maryborough two weeks later.
By then, it was September 2016. When I awoke, I was told I had a 2-centimetre tumour on my bowel which was too risk to remove in a country hospital, so I was sent back to Ballarat straight away for a full body MRI.
I spoke to the specialist at Ballarat Health Services a few days later and was told it needed to be removed via right Hemicolectomy.
I then waited 10 weeks to have it removed (after 3 surgical dates where changed) and it was a further 4 weeks from this date until I received the results that it was early stage bowel cancer at the age of 46.
I was lucky, with no spread, but I do live with scar tissue pain and stomach pains and frequent urgent bowel movements, which restrict my lifestyle in some ways.
I was told to have a colonoscopy again in January this year (2018), but until now I only have an appointment to see the specialist at the hospital, with no actual date for my colonoscopy.
I am a public patient and the wait goes on.
Over the next four weeks, Bowel Cancer Australia is encouraging people to petition the House of Representatives to ensure Australians with bowel cancer symptoms or a positive screen, receive a diagnostic colonoscopy with a maximum wait time of 120 days, no matter where in Australia they live.