I was diagnosed with bowel cancer at age 39. Initially I attended the ED with stomach pain and two days later after a bowel resection and 27 lymph nodes removed (seven with cancer) the doctor said the tumour had perforated my bowel which caused the pain. This was November 2020.
I had no symptoms and was fit healthy, running 5kms each day with our dogs, a busy full-time Social Worker, mother of our two children. I can relate to feeling tired due to her busy lifestyle.
I was offered and started “Mop up” chemotherapy for six months for Stage 3 bowel cancer. A few months later, after my 4th round of chemo, I experienced chest pain and we went back to the ED as the oncologist suggested. CT scans and a biopsy confirmed that the cancer had returned, it had metastasised in lymph nodes in my chest and abdomen.
I was then re-staged to Stage 4 metastasised bowel cancer and referred to a clinical trial for BRAF mutation v600e. So far so good, I have had great results on the clinical trial and having fortnightly chemotherapy treatment and daily medication.
My husband Shane is doing Dry July in support of Bowel Cancer Australia and to help other families in this situation. We both feel it's important to raise awareness for bowel cancer, to share the word that you are never too young and it’s not just an older person’s disease.