March 2019. I was on the ward at the hospital after severe abdominal pains, when a doctor came to see me. It was after 10pm. Her words were “you have a bowel obstruction and it looks like cancer.” The week before I was at a different emergency department and ended up being told I had colitis and referred for a colonoscopy.
I had surgery the next morning removing 2 thirds of my bowel plus 45 lymph nodes and a few days later it was confirmed. Stage 3 bowel cancer. I then had 12 cycles of chemo after recovering from surgery. After this I was told there was no evidence of disease in every scan up till March 2021 - 2 years post my diagnosis.
Then 6 weeks after my last clear scan, I started having pains. I initially thought it was muscle related and had 5 physio sessions trying to fix it. By July the pain had got worse. It got so bad one night but I was not sure whether to call an ambulance - because of the ads telling us to keep triple 0 for emergencies. It didn’t feel like an emergency but nothing was helping the pain. The paramedics got me straight into the ambulance thinking it was gall stones.
Once I got to hospital scans showed a twisted ovary, a tumour in my ovary, internal bleeding and multiple spots on my liver. I had emergency surgery and the cancer recurrence was confirmed a few days later. I was to start chemo again and this time I was told it would be forever! At this time, I’ve been on fortnightly chemo for 18 months.
Stage 4 diagnosis in under 50’s is increasing at a rapid rate and more funding is needed to find treatments and a cure.