In October 2019, at 51 years of age I was feeling Incredibly fatigued and rundown.
Life was busy with work and being mum to my four kids.
I knew something wasn’t right, because I felt so weary and tired all the time, but I would have vitamin B shots and eat healthy and keep pushing through!
I took a month off in January 2020 to rest. As the weeks past, I became worse.
Sleeping all the time during the day, and in the mornings, I would struggle walking when I first woke up.
I began to suffer panic attacks as my body was overcompensating to function. After several tests, I was diagnosed with chronic anaemia.
I was encouraged that I could possibly have ulcers and not be alarmed. They needed to know why I was bleeding internally, so I was put on a list at the hospital for a colonoscopy ASAP.
Weeks had passed and I began to haemorrhage, so my husband rang the hospital to inform them of my condition.
They moved my appointment forward due to day surgeries being cancelled because of Covid, and because Qld/ Australia was about to go into their first Covid lockdown. This created availability for me to go straight in and be seen.
Straight after I had my colonoscopy, I was informed I had stage three bowel cancer, and I was in complete shock!
I had never been sick before. I had been active and fit all my life.
I have a strong faith in God, and I decided that fear was not going to rob me and my family.
I had surgery one week after my diagnosis and they removed all the infection and some of my bowel. They also discovered very small signs in three of my lymph nodes, so they removed 42 lymph nodes.
Once I recovered from surgery, I was about to commence six months of chemotherapy. I was nervous and braced myself for the journey. I had a porta Cath inserted into my upper right chest in preparation for hospital/home chemotherapy.
A porta Cath is a device that attaches tubes for the treatment to pass through during home chemotherapy. It also helps the process because I did not have to have needles in my arms on a weekly basis.
This was a difficult journey, my kids and husband saw things they can’t unsee, and experienced things I know they would like to forget! But we made it through together!
During this time, this journey was made easier due to all my friends and family praying and supporting me consistently throughout - providing meals, lifts to and from the hospital, messages of encouragement and lots of hugs. After six months of gruelling treatment, I almost threw in the towel! The chemotherapy finished on the 13th of November - a week before my birthday.
It took many months to recover - just in time for my follow-up colonoscopy in March 2021, when I was given all clear! I am now in remission.
Treatment was a fight and recovery, and overcoming trauma takes time. For me it has taken a year, but I have been kind to myself, and I have given myself space to heal mentally and emotionally.
I am well, and I am so grateful for every moment with my husband and my four amazing children. I know that early detection is key. I went years feeling fatigued not realising my body was fighting a battle.
Early detection can save you surgery, treatment, and your life.
I encourage you to stop, make time for yourself. Book yourself in for a colonoscopy, You won’t regret it!