I was diagnosed with cancer at 46.
The first symptom I noticed wasn’t in my bowel area but presented as a sharp pain in my right-hand side. I went to my local GP and he suggested I go to the ER at my local hospital. He thought it may have been appendicitis. That was quickly ruled out. An ultrasound showed several large masses in my liver.
I was admitted to hospital that night. A biopsy of my liver revealed I had bowel cancer. A colonoscopy confirmed there was a small tumour in my colon. A PET scan showed extensive tumours throughout my liver and it was deemed inoperable. I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given between 6 months and 3 years.
I started Folfox chemotherapy with additional Avastin. Luckily for me I handled the treatment not too badly. No real nausea but the usual loss of taste and swollen, tingly hands and feet. Sensitivity to cold started straight away and lasted a few days after each session. Fatigue wasn’t too bad in the early stages but ramped up significantly with subsequent treatments.
After 10 treatments, the last 2 were a real struggle, but I didn’t want to stop as scans showed positive results.
After the final 12th full treatment, I had another PET scan. To my great relief and surprise, it showed that all the tumours are now benign. Just some scarring remained. My oncologist said the result was truly remarkable.
I have now been in remission for 15 months. I’m still receiving maintenance treatment of Avastin and Capecitabine every three weeks. I would not have been able to go through this without the love and support of all my family and friends. After reading about early detection signs, I should have picked up my issue much quicker than I did.
I encourage everyone I know to check and get tested now. Throughout all of this, I tried to stay as positive as I could and was determined to enjoy every moment that I had available. That still hasn’t changed almost 2 years later.