My family was shocked by the news in April 2011 when first told my Dad had bowel cancer. It was difficult to process as my Dad is such a healthy man.
Initially my Dad went to his GP to have a check up on his prostate. It was after his assessment that the GP was concerned Dad’s bowel may require further investigation. After discussing his health with his doctor it was apparent Dad had experienced a change in his bowel habits, was anaemic and had noticed gradual weight loss.
In May 2011 Mum began losing weight and starting experiencing pain on the right side of her abdomen. A colonoscopy discovered a large mass and she was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. She was 66.
Mum was treated with surgery and has since had chemotherapy. Sadly three months ago she started finding it difficult to speak. It seemed as though her nerves were not working effectively, causing her to not be able to eat or talk properly. At that point I didn’t have a good feeling about things so we went back to Mum’s doctor. She was sent for an MRI and they spotted secondaries on her brain.
Some people are known for their sense of humour, some for their compassion, others for their courage. Anyone who knew bowel cancer victim Vicki Morris will tell you she was all of this and more.
Vicki’s husband Peter writes: Cancer is one of those things that you think happens to someone else and it is a shock when it comes to your own household. It doesn’t need to be a death sentence, but the odds are difficult to beat. It takes someone exceptional to deal with it as bravely as Vicki did.
This story is about my father who was diagnosed with bowel cancer three days before Christmas in 2010 and passed away just five weeks later.
Dad was a young 72-year-old – he was healthy and active, ate well, enjoyed long walks, wouldn’t hesitate to climb up on the roof if necessary, and had never even been to hospital – so his diagnosis was a shock. He had lost his appetite and begun to lose weight about a month before his diagnosis but his doctor didn’t think it was a problem; in fact, he thought it was good that he was losing weight, even though Dad wasn’t a big man. The GP had no idea.
My father was a fit and healthy man. He ate well, never smoked, almost never drank to excess and played a lot of sports. As a result of old work and football injuries, he suffered from chronic knee and back pain for many years. He also suffered frequent digestive upsets, which he rationalised to be a side-effect of the anti-inflammatory medication he needed to take for his pain.