G'day, my name is Cale and I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 29.
For the last six months of 2022 I was feeling really unwell. This involved being very tired and lethargic, cramping of my stomach and constant trips to the bathroom. I honestly thought I had an intolerance to certain foods. However even when I ate healthy and was only drinking water, I still had the same symptoms. After six months of feeling this way and many people telling me to get checked out. This including my wife who was persistent with me. I finally went to my local GP. Unfortunately, my usual GP was unavailable, so I had to see someone else. This is when the GP asked for my symptoms and then proceeded to send me for a routine colonoscopy.
I received a referral to hospital (thankfully I have private health) in September 2022, I was then met with a lovely doctor who then proceeded to have chats with me regarding my symptoms, what I eat, family history etc. He believed it could be a sign of IBS as I am only 29. Otherwise, healthy there wasn't much concern. I was offered to do a stool sample or a colonoscopy. My doctor proceeded to tell me the benefits of a colonoscopy, after getting over the weirdness of having a camera up my bottom I agreed. Due to financials and work I booked my scan for January 2023.
January 2023 rolled around, and I prepped myself by having bowel prep - awful taste but got it done. I fasted and was ready for the next day. I was greeted and taken into my colonoscopy. After being out for 45 minutes I awoke in recovery and then moved on to a ward. My doctor came back to meet me and stated that he was glad I chose the scan. He asked me to come to his office 4 days later and to bring my wife. With that comment I got worried. He proceeded to advise that he found three polyps. Two could be removed but one was 15mm and looked nasty. He took a biopsy and then said results will be back before our meeting.
I stressed over the weekend knowing that my life is possibly changing. However I stayed in a really positive mindset. Our meeting came around and I went with my wife. What is it I asked? Unfortunately, it's a tumour (sigmoid). Cale being the funny bugger I am asked so that's cancer? Yep it's cancer.
My wife and I were shocked, but we knew - we had the gut feeling. I was prepared for that news.
I’m 29 with cancer, my world changed.
We got home and chatted about everything and decided to start telling our family.
I started by telling my sister, who is one of the most supportive people I know. She told me to reach out but keep focused on getting through this and being healthy and strong.
We proceeded to tell my wife’s parents and family. I was holding back on my parents as I was waiting for them to be home together. This was going to be the hardest part. I told them and to both see them go white wasn't fun. To see your parents upset is one of the hardest things to see. Telling my two best mates was hard as well.
I was referred to another doctor this time a surgeon, who if you want bowel surgery, is the man you want to do it. We went to his office for a chat about upcoming surgery - he was calm, kind and just an all-round good bloke. He proceeded to tell me that it was a sigmoid tumour and not very big. He ran me through the risks of surgery and possibility of a stoma.
We booked in for three weeks later. Giving me the ability to go on a small holiday beforehand knowing my life has just changed.
We came back from holiday on a Monday. Bowel prep for surgery started on Tuesday. We had tickets to Ed Sheeran Tuesday night. I managed the prep and still got to the concert. Wednesday rolled around. Surgery went off with a bang - 4-hour surgery. I had 20cm of colon cut out. I woke up to no Stoma. I was very happy.
By Friday I was walking again and eating. I felt good for having such an invasive surgery. My wife was in everyday to keep me company which made it easier. By Monday I was told I could go home and that my progress was impressive. I went home on Tuesday, a week after bowel prep. My surgeon came to see me before I left. He told me my results came back from the piece of colon they had tested and also lymph nodes nearby. The cancer was small but very aggressive - it hit the lymph nodes.
I have now been home from hospital for three weeks. I start chemo next week for 12 weeks because it hit the lymph nodes. I am now Stage 3 cancer patient.
My one piece of advice, if you don't feel like yourself GET CHECKED. If you are young don't be in denial. And follow twopiecefeed podcast. This is my muse while dealing with cancer. It's my outlet to chat with my best mate about how I'm feeling.