In May 2013 I was admitted to hospital for appendicitis.
Prior to the operation, my surgeon was concerned that my symptoms didn't match up 100% with appendicitis, so he scheduled me for a CT scan instead.
Three years earlier I had passed a large volume of blood in the toilet bowl after going to the toilet. I went to a GP who said not to worry about it unless it happened again. As it didn't happen again I didn't go back to him.
In 2005 when I was 14, my father was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer. Dad was just 38 at the time and given a low chance of surviving five years. That was eight years ago and he is still with us, happy and healthy today.
Finding out dad had bowel cancer was a complete shock. Following his diagnosis, he underwent surgery and half of his large intestine was removed. He then was prescribed Xeloda as chemotherapy and, like most cancer patients, experienced a lot of difficulty with the treatment. Over the next 12 months, he attempted other forms of therapy but due to our location in a regional area, he ended up continuing with the tablets.
My journey with bowel cancer came as a surprise to me, even though I have an extensive family history of the disease due to Lynch Syndrome (a type of inherited cancer of the digestive tract).
My mother, brother and uncle have all had bowel cancer and survived to tell the tale. I suppose I thought it wouldn’t happen to me as I have always been healthy, eaten lots of fruit and veggies plus I’m quite a positive person.
Life was quite normal, albeit very busy with a young family and a very time consuming career.
Things changed for me one night when I experienced severe stomach pains after eating a chicken sandwich and immediately self-diagnosed myself with "food poisoning." The next morning I was severely sick and started to vomit. At this stage I thought I was getting better as I had got it all out of my system.