This isn’t a fairy-tale… once upon a time I didn’t think I would get cancer, but I did.
I chose to ignore the symptoms – weight loss, bleeding, diarrhoea. At the same time my Dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer so I flew to New Zealand to be with him, not feeling too well myself. A few months later I collapsed at work and was rushed to the doctor who sent me for a colonoscopy. I was diagnosed with bowel cancer – I knew in my heart that this would be the case.
I had three months of treatment before surgery. My family was wonderful. They tried to keep things relatively normal whilst I underwent treatment. I managed to keep a positive mind set and worked four days a week.
After surgery I had the best news ever – I was cancer free. I decided to set goals, one of them being my 50th birthday celebration.
Not long after, I had the devastating news the cancer had spread, and I needed more chemotherapy. I cried my eyes out when I told my husband.
This round of chemotherapy seemed harder, but I didn’t think – why me? I kept to my goals and even though I was as sick as a dog at my 50th birthday, it was a wonderful party.
My next goal was my son’s wedding, plus there were the little goals in between. With every goal I met I knew deep down I was going to get through it. During the months leading up to my liver operation, the palliative care team couldn’t believe I was still working. I never ever thought I would die. The operation took a long time to recover from but finally I was given the all clear and was able to enjoy my son’s wedding. It was a brilliant and amazing day; it was like turning a new page in a book.
To this day I have regular tests – more than you can imagine – but if these are all it takes to keep on top of things I don’t mind.
This story would have been different if I had gone to the doctor for investigation when I started having symptoms – listen to your body.
Today I still make goals and keep a positive mind set – my diary is full until I am 85. My story is not finished. I am passionate about helping others through sharing my story. If I can help one person then I know that I have achieved my goal and that is my aim in life.