When were you diagnosed and what with?
I was diagnosed with Stage 2 bowel cancer in June 2010. I was 29.
How did you find out you had cancer?
I had severe abdominal pain on left.
What did you think and feel when you were diagnosed?
Initially I froze with shock and was very scared of the fact that I might die from the cancer.
How did the people around you react?
The people around me were fantastic, particularly my father who stayed at the hospital while I was in intensive care fighting for my life. My mother, wife, sister and brother have also all been really supportive.
What treatment did you have?
I had an emergency operation to remove my large bowel and that was followed by six months of grueling chemotherapy in tablet form (2 weeks on, one week off).
How did you feel through treatment?
I felt really rough during my treatment as the tablets left me feeling very drained and I was slept all day. I also had side effects from the anti-sickness tablets that were given to me.
What happened after treatment finished?
I was having regular checks with the surgeon who operated on me & I will be having colonoscopies for life. I’ve found that there have been some psychological side effects too. I’m more emotional and there are days when I find it hard to do anything. I’ve sometimes felt ashamed and this has led me to feel depressed and stressed. However, last October I was given a clean bill of health by my doctor which was did make me really happy.
How did you get involved with Shine?
I stumbled across Shine when I was Googling “cancer support”. I joined the online Facebook group almost immediately.
What difference has Shine made to you?
Shine has made the world of difference to me. There are many wonderful people in the group and it has been a breath of fresh air for me. I seriously would not have coped these last 8 months had Shine not been there.
How do you feel now about your experiences? What‘s been the biggest change you’ve faced?
My experience has changed me. I was taking things for granted before where as now I am valuing those same things a lot more. My biggest challenge has been my emotions. To this day, they are very up and down.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself before your what would it be?
Take it easy.