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.
In early November 2010 I noticed some weight loss and a change in my bowel habits, including rectal bleeding. I went to the doctor in mid-November and was diagnosed with anaemia and booked in for a colonoscopy later that month. I was told on the day of the colonoscopy that I had bowel cancer.
The next step was surgery, a high anterior resection, which was done in mid-December.
It all happened so quickly that I didn’t really have time to dwell on what was going on, but it never occurred to me before my diagnosis that I might have bowel cancer. I was so young and so busy caring for my two beautiful teenage children that I just didn’t think I was a likely candidate for the disease. But my father had a very similar surgery just eight weeks before mine so it can certainly be said that bowel cancer runs in my family.