On this page, I hope to answer everyone’s questions by explaining my diagnosis fully, symptoms I had and any questions I frequently get asked.
I have been diagnosed on 16th May 2016 with the standard Bowel Cancer that 95% of adults over 60 are diagnosed with. This has spread to my Liver leaving me with a tumour in my bowel (Removed 27th May) and four tumours in my Liver. I have already undergone keyhole surgery when I had my stoma created to remove the tumour in my bowel and am due to undergo Chemo to hopefully shrink the tumours in my Liver enough to also operate and remove the tumours there also. This Cancer is EXTREMELY uncommon in my age group. In fact, it’s uncommon in anyone under 45 therefore being 19 getting this diagnosis was somewhat lucky as no one was looking for this. I had a stool test and quite a few blood tests, including a Liver function test and they had all came back fine despite the tumours. I am more than grateful to Mr Scott, the doctor who booked my CT Scan because without him, I’d most likely be in America on more IBS medication masking the fact I have cancer. However, even with Mr Scott I was only booked in for a CT Scan in order to see where the blockage was in my bowels so I could get sorted quick enough for Camp America. The NHS disapprove of CT Scans in my age so much he had to LIE about my condition on the referral forms for the scan in order to get me one, yet without this scan, we would have never found the tumours. It was after the results of the CT Scan came back that I was then booked in for an Emergency MRI that we found out the abnormalities where in my Bowel and Liver and they were tumours, further tests then revealed they were cancerous. Till then, I was diagnosed with (despite no tests being done) and believed I merely had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and was told on numerous occasions I didn’t need testing for Cancers, despite 2 out of 5 sisters both having Cancer, purely because one had Thyroid and another had Leukemia and apparently they don’t link. In fact, I was practically laughed at when I gave the suggestion that it could be genetic. Although now I have been since told all my sisters need to be screened and they believe it is a genetic reason why I have this cancer. I’m now undergoing treatment and all the Cancer Updates provide my progress.
If I’m honest, the symptoms I had did eventually start to affect me in day-to-day life but I tried to ignore them as much as I could as they weren’t what I’d imagine Cancer to feel like. I had constant lower back pain and what could only be described as abdominal cramps that followed with difficulty going the toilet, normal signs of constipation or IBS and although some days would be worse than others, I often just brushed it off and went about my day just getting on with it. But then I started having days were I’d be bunged up but get a fever and struggle to stand, leaving me throwing up violently and experiencing bouts of diahorrea as if I was backed up and my body was struggling. These days would cause me to miss work and college and leave me quite often bed bound, which is what made me realise it was a problem, but only for the fact that I was due to go to Camp America and couldn’t be experiencing this while I was there as it’d affect my time there. This is what pushed me to the doctors, otherwise I may have not went and just carried on trying to find constipation relief in the form of home remedies and over the counter medications.
To sum it up, the symptoms weren’t that bad. Looking back on it now, they were all symptoms of Bowel Cancer but I wasn’t to even suspect Bowel Cancer could be a possibility. Even though the picture attached to this blog post at the bottom suggests the things that cause Bowel Cancer, I can honestly say I very rarely eat red meat, I rarely drink, I don’t smoke, I was very active and I wouldn’t say I was overweight, which leaves me to believe this disease can attack absolutely anyone and despite the research, we are none the wiser to what exactly causes the cells to mutate in a way to cause cancer. Despite never thinking of it in a thousand years, since being diagnosed I have become aware how increasingly more common it is becoming for younger people to get this Cancer. Saying this, I am the youngest one the nurses on my ward have seen but quite often, people as young as me who find out they have Bowel Cancer is often when it’s too late and their symptoms are far worse than what I experienced. This is why I want to raise awareness through this blog. Young people CAN get Bowel Cancer. Yes, it is rare but if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. If someone young is going the doctors, being diagnosed with IBS but is still suffering from the same symptoms and constant dull ache a month later, make the suggestion at the doctors. They may not take note and may tell you of how uncommon it is but I’m telling you, it’s not as uncommon as they think. It’s a hard thing to get diagnosed or check in a young person when most GPs don’t acknowledge it’s becoming a problem because there is not enough young people diagnosed with it for people to take notice.