Sara-Jayne’s story

I had a few symptoms for several months to begin with. Early 2019 I noticed a change in my bowel movements. I found it was mostly during the early hours of the morning when I was trying to sleep. Terrible diarrhea that would some nights be awfully painful. I put it down to my diet as I had been told I had diverticulitis. So I decided to become vegan.

After a few months I felt ok. Tired. but ok. I had a lot going on in my personal life and I put it down to stress. Months went by and my girlfriend, Ange, noticed I had lost quite a bit of weight, fairly quickly, but again I put it down to stress and my new healthy eating regime.

But then the diarrhea came back, and was worse. The pain was horrendous some evenings and I was really struggling to sleep. Then one night in the early hours again, I noticed I had blood in my stool. I was quite scared and immediately went to my doctor asking for a colonoscopy, however I was told I had a hernia and that it would fix itself.

After a few weeks I noticed it wasn’t improving and the blood was more frequent. I decided to see a different doctor. That doctor saved my life. It was now near the end of January 2020 and he told me it was critical to get a colonoscopy. I was booked in for the colonoscopy on 4 February 2020 (also my dad’s birthday – and ironically World Cancer Day). That was the day I was diagnosed with Stage 3 bowel cancer – at the age of 46.

What I thought would be a fairly straightforward colonoscopy turned into one of the worst days of my life. I underwent bowel resection, following on with six months of intense chemo.

At the beginning of 2021 I found out that the bowel cancer had metastasized to my lung. So in March 2021 I had lung surgery. Now with Stage 4 bowel cancer I was unsure what my future held. The next step for me was combined radiation and chemotherapy as I had more cancer in my pelvis. I had a two-week break and then followed up with sabre radiation to my lung. The treatment was relentless the side effects were nothing short of hell.

I then went back to my surgeon for what I thought would be an appointment to discuss further treatment in my pelvis area, dependent on the spot on my lung. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be having the discussion that we had full stop. The surgeon told me that there was no evidence of cancer in my body anywhere. There were no words to express my relief.

My sister caught me in her arms as I fell to the ground with tears of joy. I know I have a long journey ahead of me with scans and blood test follow ups and I’m praying with all my might that this disease does not come back.

How can I make a difference? I often found myself asking this. A fundraiser. And so, with my sister behind me, we have joined with the Jodi Lee foundation to have a private fundraising screening of the movie Top Gun 2.

Growing up, Top Gun was the movie that I watched over and over and over again with my dad. It was always our plan to watch the new movie together, sound up full bore, but sadly I lost him to cancer several years ago. So this movie and this fundraiser means more to me than I can express. Please buy a ticket and support the event if you can.

All I can say moving forward is please do a bowel screening test, it just might save your life.

Movie Night Fundraiser
Top Gun: Maverick
Saturday 28 May 2022
Capri Theatre: 141 Goodwood Road, Goodwood, SA
Book your tickets here