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.
After knowing my father was diagnosed with bowel cancer in his 40’s, I was always told to ensure I screen early because my risk was higher. I screened for a long time before I was diagnosed, having one very small malignant polyp (stage 1) in 2012. The polyp was removed, and I was told I required surgery to remove the affected surrounding bowel. I had a stoma for a period of time, which has since been reversed.
I was 42 when I heard those three words, ‘You have cancer.’
I was diagnosed with Stage III C bowel cancer.
I had been unwell for a month prior to my diagnosis, at the beginning of March 2016.
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.