In 2017 I was 16 years old enjoying my last Christmas school holiday break before my senior year in high school, when I started experiencing lower stomach pains so bad to the point, I was left unable to walk… previous to this I had just completed a two-week volunteer holiday in Cambodia. Thinking it may have been a virus or bug I had picked up over there, my mum made me go to the doctors to get checked.
I was very luckily blessed with an amazing doctor who sent me off for an ultrasound to look me over straight away. They found an internal solid mass and decided to take me for a CT scan as soon as possible.
On the day of my scan, I had an undeniable feeling that this was going to be something more serious than anyone may have thought. I returned to my doctor’s surgery only to be told that they had found a possible tumour on my bowel and currently couldn’t give me any more information. At the time I was sent to the Women’s and Children’s hospital straight away for more scans and a biopsy.
A few days later we were told for sure it was bowel cancer. Stage 4. Being 16 years old and hearing the words “Stage 4” and a countdown of three years on your life has to be the worst feeling to face as a young person.
Although this was my diagnosis, my oncologist wouldn’t let me go down without a fight. She worked night and day to write a proposal to get me into a clinical trial for an immunotherapy drug. This and a full abdominal surgery, is what saved my life and is the reason why I’m here telling you my story today.
I am now writing this nearly five years in remission. Last year, celebrating my 21st birthday and many more milestone events that I was told I would never live to see. I don’t know where I might have been if I was never blessed with the health professionals that did everything they could to help me.
This is obviously the very short explanation to my very long journey, but I hope my story can be used to prove you really are #nevertooyoung.