Barbara, aged 57
“I was diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer following a routine visit to donate blood in September 2014, where I was found to be severely anaemic. From my first visit to the GP to having a right hemicolectomy took less than six weeks. The CT scan had revealed ‘something’ on my liver, which an MRI scan confirmed as a metastasis, so I wasn’t eligible for the clinical trial I had been scheduled to take part in. A considerable number of lymph nodes were affected, so I had four cycles of xelox chemotherapy before my liver resection, and another four rounds afterwards.
My status is ‘disease free’, although I am aware that there is a 50% chance of recurrence. I am doing all I can to mitigate this by lifestyle changes. I weigh 3 stone less than I did a year ago, am aiming to walk 10,000 steps a day, have virtually given up alcohol and have a more plant-based diet. One of the reasons I think I have recovered so well from surgery has been the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) programme, which I followed in both hospitals, and which gave me a chance to take some control over my treatment and recovery. Overall I feel I have had ‘gold standard’ treatment from my three consultants and two hospitals, and am starting to allow myself to feel a little bit optimistic about the future.”