Hazel, aged 63
“Bowel cancer – I had never heard about it, let alone considered I could get it at the age of 48! I had a few bouts of diarrhoea which I put down to food intolerance, but after six weeks I visited my GP. He thought it was nothing to worry about, but told me to come back if necessary. After three visits I had to insist that I wanted a proper check-up with a consultant and this resulted in a colonoscopy. I had bowel cancer.
An operation revealed an advanced Dukes C (Stage 3) tumour. Needless to say I and my poor family were devastated. I put on a brave face, but knew the statistics for survival were not particularly good and secretly thought I was going to die.
Six months of 5FU chemotherapy saw me through to a full body MRI scan, by which time I was super positive and really thought I would be told that all was well, but … really bad news … metastases were found in my liver. I had surgery to remove half my liver, which left me feeling very weak, and in fact it took me three months to feel really well again. I had regular scans to check that no more lesions had appeared. I did have intermittent cramps in my bowel for a few years after the surgery, but no cause was found and these eventually went away.
15 years later I am very well and have been able to watch my family blossom! I have a fabulous granddaughter and a grandson due in three weeks (I once thought this was something I would miss!). I just want to say, stay positive, don’t let it get you – I had superb treatment from my consultants, but I can’t be the only one to be lucky!”