“I was diagnosed on the 14th of June 2022. I had noticed a change in bowel habits and frequency for about 8 weeks prior to initially seeing a GP. The week of the 30th of May 2022 I was not making it to the toilet on time (at least three times a day I would have accidents) and I was in excruciating pain in my lower back and rectum, and I stopped eating and drinking.

I wasn’t able to get an appointment with my regular GP but managed to get an appointment with a GP at the same medical centre. This was on the 2nd of June. The GP I saw made me feel like she didn’t believe me and reluctantly ordered a blood test and asked me to return a stool sample - she told me to go home and drink hydrolyte and take gastro stop and that it was probably just a parasite.

My regular GP was notified when the results for my tests came back and called to advise there was blood found in my stool and that she had booked me an urgent appointment with a Gastroenterologist on Tuesday the 7th June.

He was concerned about the amount of pain I was in and ordered a CT and booked me in for a colonoscopy and endoscopy on the 21st of June. I had my CT scan on the 7th and was told on the 9th that a malignant mass was found in my rectum. My colonoscopy and endoscopy was brought forward to the 14th of June and this confirmed rectal adenocarcinoma. We have no family history of bowel cancer, I am not a smoker, I have always had a healthy and balanced diet and I was going to the gym six days per week up until my diagnosis.

Since my diagnosis (less than a month ago) I have had fertility treatment, egg collection and a de-functioning ileostomy. I started five weeks of radiation and chemo tabs yesterday and then I will have four months of IV chemo. I am so lucky as it hasn’t spread. If I didn’t have the symptoms I did it would be a very different story.

I am strong, I will beat this, and I am so grateful to have the support networks and information from wonderful organisations such as Bowel Cancer Australia - it is so important that we continue to raise awareness and funds to help people like me.” ~ Sophie.

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