In November 2021, I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer.
I suffered from some abdominal pain and cramping for a few months but believed it was due to lactose intolerance. I then developed a sharp pain under my ribs and thought maybe I had pulled a muscle.
Over drinks with some friends, a comment was made that I had lost weight. I responded I wasn’t eating a lot due to the above issues and after a few more direct questions, also admitted how fatigued I felt. My friends then lovingly bullied me into seeing my GP ASAP.
12 days later I underwent a 6 and-a-half-hour surgery to remove a third of my bowel and bits and pieces of my abdominal area that the tumour had grown and adhered to. I spent a total time of 3 weeks in the hospital, and then was sent home to rest and recover before starting chemotherapy.
I’m not going to lie, there have been tears. I’m anxious, I have no control over this and literally had the shit scared out of me (colonoscopy prep humour).
My husband is my rock. He has had to pick up all the pieces and then some. This isn’t easy for him. I’m tired, sick, and can be nasty some days, but he cops the brunt of it, and his love doesn’t falter.
As a mum, I've talked openly to my teenage daughter about what's going on and answered the difficult questions softly but truthfully, and I've made sure we have regular conversations and a safe place to work through all the emotions.
I have now just finished my second round of chemo and have 10 to go. It’s definitely as bad as what everyone thinks it is, plus a few hidden surprises that you never see in the movies, plus having cancer in the middle of a pandemic can be pretty damn lonely and isolating.
Too many young people are suffering from a disease that can be easily detected and treated earlier- impact is to my family, my income, my friends, my ability to be an active part of our community whilst I undergo chemotherapy treatment