Jane, aged 50
“I made numerous visits to my GP with the classic symptoms of bowel cancer over a 10 month period. I was eventually referred for a sigmoidoscopy which revealed a large tumour. I had bowel surgery and 45 lymph nodes removed in 2011 followed by six months of oxaliplatin and capecitabine. During a follow up scan a small lesion on my liver was found to be cancerous and I was scheduled for a liver resection in 2012.
Whilst I struggled tremendously with my bowel resection, I felt surprisingly well when coming around from my liver surgery. In 2014, after a series of raised CEA blood results and another hot spot on my CT scan, I was referred back to my specialist Hepatobiliary Centre for a second liver resection. My consultant surgeon came to see me and told me he’d been able to remove the whole of the tumour from my liver but he’d also had to remove my gallbladder and performed a partial resection of my duodenum. I started another six months of chemotherapy, this time I was given irinotecan and 5FU. I’m now back into the regular routine of three monthly scans and blood tests. I admit I did not have the healthiest of lifestyles in the twenty years prior to diagnosis.
I was a good few stones heavier four years ago and I realised when recovering from my first surgery that I needed to encompass a different attitude to both food and exercise. I have found that since my treatment there are a number of food groups that I can’t tolerate at all, and nausea and fatigue are a daily occurrence. I have an appointment with a specialist dietician coming up soon.
Exercise has played an important role – I’ve managed to get myself to a level of fitness which aids both me and the medical professionals supporting me. That feeling of being physically stronger has also benefited me mentally and emotionally – I feel far more confident in my ability to tackle whatever life throws at me now”.