Five years ago, at age 39, Matthew was diagnosed with stage two bowel cancer. Matthew is completely blind, so it was his fiancée Jenna that first noticed blood in the toilet. After visiting the GP and having a colonoscopy, it was found that Matthew had a tumour close to protruding the bowel wall. After a week of intense radiation therapy, Matthew had surgery to remove the tumour in April 2018. The doctor decided out of caution from the radiation therapy to insert a colostomy/ileostomy bag. We were concerned with the challenge of having a bag, given Matthew’s blindness, but the doctor all but promised to reverse it in six weeks. Matthew was living with his Mum at the time, who took on the role of emptying the bag.
The bag was indeed reversed 6 weeks later.
Matthew was keen to share his story to ensure people understood that cancer is not just an older person’s disease, and it really can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, Matthew had family history on his father’s side of bowel cancer and polyps but was not aware of this. If he and his doctor had known, they would have taken action much earlier.
Matthew has now been cleared of cancer and has regular colonoscopies to keep on top of any flare ups.
Matthew considers himself ‘lucky’ where so many are not.