Elaine, aged 57
“I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009 after finding a little blood and mucus on the toilet paper. A sigmoidoscopy, followed by a CT scan showed that I had a tumour in my sigmoid colon and a pre-cancerous tumour on my uterus, which came as a massive shock. I was admitted for surgery three weeks later and placed on ‘enhanced recovery’, which consisted of special nutritional drinks which I was asked to take before I was admitted to hospital.
My surgeon explained that he would carry out a high anterior resection by laparoscopic surgery. He made the entry through my tummy button, leaving a very tiny scar. The procedure was carried out first thing in the morning and I was able to sit by the side of my bed by about 8pm that evening – very pleased that I did not need a stoma.
I was given nutritional drinks which quickly built up my strength, and was home just two days after my operation. About a week later I went to the loo for the first time – a bit scary, but all was working as it should. I walked a little further each day and began to eat more solid food. It was my choice to stay at home during my chemotherapy – but I could have returned to work about six weeks after my operation. Now life is back to normal (but more precious) and I can eat and drink what I like. And even that very tiny scar has almost disappeared.”
Elaine started to volunteer when she was recovering from the disease. “I wanted to give something back,” she says, “and volunteering is the best way. I volunteer quite often and I’m becoming more involved.”
Elaine has given Health in the Workplace talks for Beating Bowel Cancer and has supported us at events and community collections. She’s currently developing a fundraising group in Dorset with the help of the community fundraiser there.
Elaine says it feels good to give back and get involved: “Everyone should do it! It is so nice to know I am helping someone else. People who are afraid can see that I have survived and so I know I am giving hope.”