But I’m only 39!! Cancer. Bowel cancer! How can I possibly have bowel cancer? I’m only 39!
And there I was. Only 39 years of age, living in Singleton NSW and working in the best job I'd ever had in my life, and I'd had plenty. Married with kids. Just bought the first house I had ever owned. I was fairly happy, even though the job brought with it a lot of high pressure self-imposed stress. I loved it and the future was assured.
In June 2015, my brother Andrew was treated for diverticulitis (with antibiotics), a condition where pockets that develop in the lining of the intestine become infected or inflamed. A few years prior, he was hospitalised for over a week with similar symptoms, these included severe pain in the abdomen.
On the 4th of May 2017, at age 27... Just 19 days before my 28th birthday, I was told that I have bowel cancer. Not particularly in the nicest way either.
It was blunt and I was alone in a hospital bed having just come out of a colonoscopy and woken up still high on the anaesthetic; tucking into sandwiches left by my bed having not been able to eat in about 60 hours by that point.
I had been healthy all my life.
I played sport and rarely needed to see a doctor.
By the time I was 35, however, I had begun to take my health for granted as my life revolved around raising two young children with my wife and working hard to build a career to support my family. I paid little regard to my diet, exercise, or sleep habits.
I was 34 when I was diagnosed with Stage IV bowel cancer.
I had been experiencing some abdominal bloating for only a week or so, and went to see my GP.
As I had been travelling I was prescribed antibiotics to rule out an infection, but after a week I still had symptoms.