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 thought that with two young kids, all my dignity had already been lost and nothing much could gross me out.
Yet it was one good, long episode of rectal bleeding that really made me face my squeamishness and uneasiness with discussing bodily functions.
The bleeding had stopped by the time I arrived at the hospital, when the doctors asked, “How much blood? A teaspoon? A tablespoon?”
I was diagnosed with Stage IV bowel cancer in 2015, at the age of 31.
At the time of my diagnosis the cancer had already spread extensively to my liver and lungs.
At the time I was diagnosed I had recently returned to work as a Midwife and our little boy was 18 months old.
I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer a year and a half ago at the age of 26.
I was numb, scared and feared the worse.
I think for me the hardest part was the unknown.