In recognition of World mCRC Day, Marty has joined Bowel Cancer Australia and our international partners to raise awareness about metastatic colorectal (bowel) cancer.
In mid-December 2019, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic bowel cancer, at age 42.
It took about 6 weeks to get myself into a frame of mind to deal with it.
Now I’m okay, but it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.
Some days I just want to be alone and I do that.
My wife and daughter give me strength to get through the difficult moments and that makes me want to push through things.
When making decisions about my treatment, I’ve relied on health resources, social workers and my family.
I’m interested in anything that is going to extend my life and slow cancer growth, because I want to be here for a long time.
I had biomarker testing done and I’m a KRAS mutant, and NRAS and BRAF “wild” type, so I’m not eligible for immunotherapy.
I receive chemotherapy, and that’s working well.
My tumours have shrunk – the largest was 6.4 cm, but it’s currently less than 2 cm.
I’ve been lucky because my main side effects have been fatigue and occasional nausea.
To start off I was in constant pain, and I always wanted to be sick.
The pain and nausea are rare now, but the fatigue is constant and occurs with every cycle.
Initially when I got out of hospital I had about 1 hour of energy a day.
Now it’s more like 4 hours, some days 6.
I rest a lot.
I’m a different person now - physically and mentally.
Immediately prior to getting sick, my goal was to afford a nicer hotel, a fancier car while we were on holiday, and a better drink package.
Now, it’s about the family.
I thought I was giving a lot of time to my family before my cancer diagnosis, but sitting back looking at what I was doing, I was probably a lot more focused on work and training for my black belt.
Now we take the time to share more experiences, even if it’s just sitting on the couch chatting, playing cards or watching a tv show or a movie together.
We currently have school holidays, so we’re enjoying diving, reef trips, and catching up with friends.
You can make your ‘normal’ into something ‘fantastic’, even with metastatic bowel cancer – that’s what I’m trying to do.