I am Zoe Allen, I'm 35 and
firstly I am mother to 3 fantastic children, Kai , Jude and Leni Rose, secondly I am a wife to my wonderful husband Gregg.
I have never been what you
may class as regular, with regards to going to the loo, more a 'once every
three or four days' kinda girl. But when I have been pregnant with my children
my bowels slowed even more, nothing unusual about that I hear many women with
kids cry, but in my third pregnancy this was accompanied by bleeding, I sought
advice for and was told that piles are also common in pregnancy.
Armed with tubes of Anusol,
and taking lots of lactulose I managed to go almost 16 weeks without a poo! I was admitted to hospital to be observed at
this point as no one could believe I had gone so long. I was 32 weeks pregnant
when I received the terrible news - I had advanced bowel cancer.
My beautiful baby girl was
born by C-section on the 8th
January 2010, 5 weeks early, so I could begin the long process of
treatment to get myself well. 6 weeks post C-section I began 5 weeks of
A few weeks later I was
scanned and found to have had an amazing response - the tumour was shrinking
and I was booked in for surgery.
On the 20th May I awoke to
find a large zipper scar on my belly, a stoma and accompanied by a bag. Tumour was successfully removed and the
histology report showed that the chemo-radiation had destroyed all the cancer
cells. Unfortunately this is not the end of my story as, on a follow up scan, I
was found to have two small spots of cancer on my liver, so surgery was booked
in at a specialist unit in Basingstoke with
Mr. Rees, in my humble opinion the man with the best hands in the business. I
now resemble a very unique patchwork quilt but I'm still here! The next stage
is to have further chemo to improve my chances of survival.
There have been many tears
shed, but a negative experience can turn positive!
I have great support from my
family and friends, and I couldn't do any of this without them. Cancer has made
me appreciate the good friends that I have and enabled me to meet many new
ones. I received a lot of care and support from many of the staff at Ipswich hospital - radiographers, the stoma team,
surgeons, oncologists, Macmillan nurses and from these I have built some
wonderful friendships! It was time to give something back.
It was during
chemo-radiation that I realised that I wanted to make a difference to others. I
set about thinking of ways I could raise awareness and hopefully save some
lives. I am a bit of a control freak and cancer is one thing that cannot be
controlled. It doesn't discriminate and it is not predictable. I was incredibly
frightened of having treatment and surgery and a thought struck me that I was as
frightened of the surgery as I was of flying!! So to combat this I did a tandem sky-dive.
Myself and my good friend Zoe raised £6000, some eyebrows and much awareness!