On the 9th April 2018, aged 32 years young, after having a colonoscopy, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer. After further testing - MRI, PET scan and CT scan, the doctors confirmed the cancer had spread through to the muscle wall and into my pelvis area and my lymph nodes.
The first step of my treatment plan was to have chemo and radiation for 6 weeks to shrink the tumor in my lower rectal area. The next step was having surgery called a pelvic exenteration on the 10th October 2018. The operation took 16 hours where they removed my lower bowel, bladder and prostate. I have now been permanently left with a colostomy and urostomy. I was in hospital for almost 2 months.
My recovery has been slow and I’ve had many complications such as 27 blood transfusions, urine leak, blood clots in legs and lungs, many infections, in and out of hospital and I still have a nurse coming each day to dress my many wounds.
The biggest challenges I have faced since being diagnosed is being left permanently with a colostomy and urostomy and also having my prostate removed.
Knowing what I do now, having been through bowel cancer myself, my one piece of advice to other young people is watch for symptoms and seek medical advice straight away – don’t wait!
I am a fighter and still fighting for the chance to grow old and see my three kids (aged 8, 2 and 1) grow up and have kids of their own. They are my strength and make me want to push forward and beat this!