It’s perhaps not as noted in media campaigns as breast cancer is for women, but it is certainly an epidemic that’s sweeping our nation of young and old. It is taking too many lives because, let’s be honest, the majority of us don’t particularly like to discuss our bowel habits. It’s a shit topic, but one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
My journey with bowel cancer started in 2003 when I was relatively still young, I was 42. Once diagnosed I realised this disease doesn’t choose age or gender.
My symptoms were extreme pain in my lower abdomen and irregular bowel movements. Not that I have been a regular person, or really bothered to take much notice of my toilet trips but this took it to another level! I decided to have a doctor check me out and was sent for a colonoscopy and, well, there you go. Panic ! OMG!
“Calm your mind Yvonne, it’s only a camera that goes up your bum, not the whole film crew.”
”Next piece of information… Yes, I had bowel cancer. My mind is racing “isn’t this an old man’s disease?”
Here’s the truth. NO! IT’S AN EPIDEMIC.
I found comfort in knowing that if you get in early enough your chances of survival are pretty good. I was told before surgery I might end up with a bag (Colostomy Bag) and I remember saying to the surgeon “if it’s not Hermes, Louis Vuitton, or Chanel I don’t want it .. not a colostomy bag – no way!” Right?! Because obviously image is everything. I’m kidding- and again that was my survival mechanism. “Let’s joke my way through this to somehow soften the blow to not only me, but my family”
Long story short – thank god I didn’t need a colostomy bag. So here it is plain and simple: If you leave it too long all the nasty stuff can happen.
I had surgery to remove the tumor and six months of chemotherapy, which to be honest, was more debilitating than the cancer itself. To this day I still have regular check ups and colonoscopies and happy to say I have been bowel cancer free since.
So, I’m on a mission to let everyone know to go get checked as soon as you think something isn’t normal down there! Be vigilant!
written by Yvonne Tozzi