It was Christmas Day 2019, and I finally listened to my body and made an appointment for early January with my GP.
For quite a while I had noticed blood in my stools but had brushed it off as nothing to worry about.
If it was something sinister it would be really dark blood, right?
I thought I’d eaten something a bit off, as my toilet visits were becoming more frequent beginning on Christmas Day – sometimes I would go as many as a dozen times a day.
I honestly didn’t think lightning would strike the same family twice – it had only been 15 months since I lost my 29-year-old brother to stage 4 testicular cancer.
My GP was rather concerned and actually made the appointment to see a gastroenterologist for me, the very next day.
I went to the appointment and he relieved my concerns by saying it was probably Colitis which was quite manageable with medication.
My dad had also been diagnosed recently with Colitis so I thought that would be it.
I had a colonoscopy on the 17th of February, 4 days after my 37th birthday.
I guess you could say my heart fell through the floor when the doctor said they found a tumour.
I have three daughters at home – aged 2, 10 and 16.
How would I tell them their Mum has cancer?
How could I tell my parents their eldest child has cancer after they just lost a child to cancer such a short time ago?
The next week I had blood tests, a CT scan and MRI.
Thankfully, nothing indicated it had spread anywhere else.
On March 18th, I had my bowel resection done. The surgery was largely a success, but they did find the tumour had invaded into a blood vessel, so potentially there could be cancer cells in other parts of my body.
My lymph nodes were all clear.
I saw an oncologist two weeks later and began chemotherapy the next day. This was to decrease the chance of the cancer from reappearing.
I’m currently on my fourth of eight cycles of chemo and managing ok.
It was hard with Covid-19, as my whole support network was unable to help due to the high risk of passing on any illness.
It has been the hardest few months of my life, but I remain positive. My little piece of advice though is to see your doctor if something does not seem right.
No symptom is ever too small to ignore.