When were you diagnosed and what with?
I was diagnosed with bowel cancer the end of January 2017.
How did you find out you had cancer?
After experiencing blood in my stools (thinking it was just a haemorrhoid), I visited my GP, who sent me for a colonoscopy. A 3 cm tumour was discovered and biopsied.
What did you think and feel when you were diagnosed?
When you wait two weeks for results, they lock the door behind you and the first person you meet is the cancer nurse, you know it's not good news.
For me, I did not expect the colonoscopy to reveal ANYTHING, so to find a tumour and for it to be cancerous was (1) terrifying (2) terrifying (3) terrifying. Suspended reality took over, I bought lots of books, did lots of research, changed my diet, visited a homeopath and started my own treatment plan.
How did the people around you react?
My boyfriend (not even a year into our relationship with five children between us) and I cried. The shock of everything being so perfect and then having to to think that my time was up, was too much to comprehend.
I cried and drank prosecco with my best friend.
We had a mass gathering at my house – it was amazing to see all my friends and family together.
I created a WhatsApp group for light-hearted updates and group support.
What treatment did you have?
I had a resection, no bag, at the end of February. Chemo is due to start 28th April 2017 with three weekly cycles for six months.
How did you feel through treatment?
The surgery healed really well. It was actually similar to c-section healing.
What happened after treatment finished?
I’m still waiting for my chemo to start. I just had a second CT scan to check lung nodules and my liver – thankfully they are clear and of no further concern.
How did you get involved with Shine?
I found out about Shine via the Beating Bowel Cancer website/leaflets.
What difference has Shine made to you?
Shine’s allowed me to share experiences with people just like me. It’s been good to hear that I'm not the only one to feel like this is surreal.
What‘s been the biggest change you’ve faced?
Knowing that even if you do everything to keep healthy, sometimes things just don't go as planned. BUT, if you understand that there are things you can do to make things better, quicken the healing process and change how your live your life going forward, you will not fail.
I am very lucky to have had surgery. The NHS has been amazing. My nurses were fabulous. My family has supported me. My work has been co-operative. I am lucky, tough and sometimes can't stop crying. All in the space of one hour usually.
If you could give one piece of advice to yourself before your what would it be?
Take baby steps. Doctors work with the information presented to them at the time. As time progresses, the information changes. Initially, I was told I had cancer of the liver and lungs. This is not the case. Take control of what you put into your body – it makes a big difference to your mind too!