When I was first diagnosed with bowel cancer I did not have enough time to feel ‘sad’ or ‘worry’ too much. I am naturally an optimistic person and an ‘action man’. “I can get through this!” I thought to myself.
Prior to my diagnosis at age 26, I had been experiencing dull pains in my pelvic area for 3 to 4 years, extending up through to my belly button and around to the right side of my body.
Even though there is a history of bowel cancer in the family, I never thought it would happen to me.
My diet had been considerably healthy throughout my life and I had previously used a Rotary Bowelscan kit, which had come back clear. This all changed in July 2007 when I was diagnosed with Dukes stage 3 bowel cancer.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2004 at the age of 60.
The only symptom I had experienced was rectal bleeding – not a lot, but enough to think it might be a problem – so I went to my GP. After looking into my family history, we think my grandmother might have had bowel cancer too, but these things were rarely diagnosed properly back then so we can’t be certain.
During a routine pap smear in August 2011, I mentioned to my doctor that I’d had an uncle who died from bowel cancer at only 51. Immediately the doctor suggested I give a stool sample and, when the results came back positive, a colonoscopy was arranged. A small tumour was found during the procedure, which fortunately was only at stage one.
My doctors recommended surgery to remove the tumour as my best option so I went ahead with an operation. No stoma was required. I started chemotherapy after surgery to help minimise the risk of the cancer returning and was given 5-FU, Oxaliplatin, FOLFOX and Leucovorin. The chemotherapy caused a little nausea and made me feel tired at times, but overall it was actually better than I expected. I was given the all clear after surgery but I will know for sure when I have a follow up colonoscopy in August 2012, plus I need to have blood tests every 3 months for the next 12 months.
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in May 2011 after experiencing changes to my bowel habits over approximately 2 months, which was followed by abdominal pain. This led me to my GP who thought the stomach upsets were nothing serious so prescribed a reflux medication and sent me on my way.
I soon returned to my GP after experiencing rectal bleeding, when he then referred me for a faecal occult blood test immediately.