My name is Julie, and I am a 49-year-old mum with two teenage children. I was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer at the age of 47 (2022) and then in 2023, further tumours were found in my liver.
I was diagnosed 5 weeks before competing in my third bodybuilding show and because I was in preparation for a competition, my symptoms such as excessive tiredness, bowel changes, weight loss and bruising were dismissed by my doctor as part of my sport.
When my lymph nodes became extremely protruded my GP sent me for testing which uncovered the cancer.
My treatment has been, IV Chemo, Pelvic radiation with oral chemo, A liver resection, lymph node dissection and gall bladder removal followed by more IV Chemo, 15 months in total.
For me one of the most important things throughout treatment was to maintain my health and fitness lifestyle, this normalised my life and paid huge dividends for my recovery and wellness throughout treatment.
I also felt, for me, it was important to focus on solutions rather than the problem. I had little control over the diagnosis, so I focused heavily on what I could do to improve my situation.
I also advocated heavily for myself, I asked endless questions and negotiated all of my treatments to work for me, my body my choice!
I've just finished chemo, I'm currently NED but I'll be under close surveillance with the colorectal team.
My approach from the start was to take one day at a time, take all the help and support that's available, be grateful for those that chose to walk this with you and be kind to yourself because it's a battle like no other.