Tracey’s story

After I had my two babies I noticed my bowel didn’t seem to be working properly. I suffered from constipation and noticed splashes of blood in the toilet after I would go. I didn’t worry too much about it and thought it was most likely haemorrhoids from giving birth. I was actually too embarrassed to discuss it with a doctor, so didn’t do anything about it and just carried on with life.

A few years later I was working as a medical receptionist and had a good rapport with one of the surgeons, so I plucked up the courage to see him regarding my bowel problems. He suggested a colonoscopy and from there the nightmare started. They found a large polyp the size of a peach seed almost blocking my bowel, which the doctor could not remove due to its size. I was only 30 years old. I was sent to the city to see another bowel surgeon who performed a second colonoscopy, took biopsies and told me I needed to have surgery. We didn’t know if the polyp was cancerous or not, and wouldn’t know until after the surgery.

The three week wait was torture. When I finally had surgery they removed part of my bowel, but thankfully I didn’t need a bag. It turned out the polyp was cancerous and the cancer was starting to spread to the bowel lining. After much consultation it was decided I needed no further treatment. To say I was relieved would be an understatement. I was very lucky.

I had to have yearly colonoscopies until recently, now I have them every two years. I want everyone to know, especially young people, that cancer can happen to anyone, and sometimes we don’t even know it’s happening inside our bodies. If you are even the slightest bit worried please see a doctor. It could save your life. I know it saved mine.