Up to this point I had never had any bleeding from my back passage before, the only unusual thing was I had been going to the loo more often over the last few weeks, sometimes needing to go during the night.
Anyway, I came home from work and rang my GP who told me to come straight to the surgery, he examined me and even though he couldnt find any abnormality, sent me up to the acute admissions ward at my local hospital immediately. My husband John took me to Pinderfields General Hospital in Wakefield straight away, where I was kept in overnight and had some tests. The bleeding stopped during the night and after meeting the bowel consultant Cathy Parchment Smith was told I could go home and would come back as an outpatient for further tests.
A couple of weeks later I went back to Pinderfields for a sigmoidoscopy, and some polyps were found, it turned out these were pre-cancerous, so a colonoscopy was arranged in January 2010, to do further investigations. On Feb 17th ( the day after my 45th birthday) I was told by Cathy Parchment Smith I had bowel cancer. They had removed the tumour during the colonoscopy but were concerned cancerous cells were in the bowel wall and wanted to do a re-section of my bowel.
This was the hardest time during my cancer journey. Having to tell my children, elderly mother and the rest of my family and friends was very draining, plus up until the operation it was constant trips to the hospital for a CT scan, MRSA checks, ECG, pre op checks etc, I felt like someone had put me on a rollercoaster ride and I couldnt get off. There had been no history of any cancer in my family and certainly no bowel cancer so it was all a complete shock to me. I was allocated my own colarectal nurse who was very supportive and went over every detail of the operation I was about to have, even showing me how a stoma is fitted and how it works as this was going to be a possibility - I may have needed a temporary stoma.
I was then contacted by the secretary of a Bowel surgeon who had recently joined Pinderfields, and who not only specialised in bowel resections without a stoma but also did keyhole surgery. This was Mr Siva Kumar. I went to meet him, as I had been really upset about a possible stoma and Cathy Parchment Smith had referred me to him to see if I might be a good candidate for keyhole surgery.
Mr Kumar took over my case, and I felt so comfortable in his care. On the 10th March 2010 I had my bowel re-section done through keyhole surgery with no stoma - my scar is tiny. A couple of weeks after surgery my colorectal nurse told me that they had found cancer in the lymph nodes I'd had removed during my re-section and would need chemo therapy So I spent the next few weeks building my strength back up ready for the chemo to start. Mr Kumar had pre-warned me about this before my op.
In May 2010 I was referred to the Oncology department and my oncologist was Daniel Swinson. I was also allocated my own Cancer Research UK nurse Annette Jones. I started chemo a week later. As I had agreed to be part of a trial for Cancer Research UK. I was given an extra cancer drug as well as the standard chemo. I was given capecitebine tablets which I took for two weeks, had a week rest and then started the procedure again and so on for eight rounds of treatment. On the first day of taking the tablets I was given a cancer drug called Avastin which I had once every three weeks and this was given intravenously. I didnt lose my hair. The only major side affect I had was extreme fatigue,which was very debilitating.
I finished my chemo the end of October 2010, and am now clear of cancer. I went back to work January 2011, and I am doing very well. Mr Kumar will keep a close eye on things for the next 5 yrs and I'm going to visit Annette my cancer nurse every 3 months for blood tests for the next 5 years aswell.
I have had fantastic support from my family and friends and all the staff at Pinderfields, and I'm so glad I went to my GP straight away. Being seen straight away, has possibly saved my life, they might not have caught my cancer early but at least it was caught in time.