Day 14 – When I Knew Something Was Wrong and My Symptoms
I will always remember the look on the colonoscopy consultant’s face when he told me he had found a tumour he believed to be cancerous. Pure shock. The nurse looked like she was going to cry and my husband’s jaw was somewhere near the floor. This was the beginning of me having cancer for them. But for me, my cancer experience had started much earlier…
I had been getting rectal bleeding, that was very on and off, for around 8 years. A classic sign of Bowel Cancer. Over the years I had visited various GPs but they always said the same, that I was too young to have Bowel Cancer (a common misconception – Remember Day 4?) It was probably a small internal cut and if the bleeding went, there was nothing to worry about (another misconception – Remember Day 5?) The bleeding would stop, so that was that. In hindsight this could have probably been dealt with in the early stages if my initial concerns and symptoms had been taken seriously.
This is why I keep repeating over and over during Bowel Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) that
the only way to truly know is to have a colonoscopy so get a referral from your GP!
The rectal bleeding now combined with discomfort when going to the toilet became intolerable during my second pregnancy in 2011. I returned to the GP three times during that pregnancy, always with the same responses from the GP. When my symptoms continued after my daughter was born, I quite literally fought for tests until my GP gave in and referred me for a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy consultant found the tumour before he had even inserted the camera.
My daughter was only 6 weeks old and my son had just turned 2 years old.
Another symptom was extreme tiredness and fatigue but its only on reflection I am able to see that. At the time I just put it down to life! Being a new mum. A lot going on. Like I said, life. Having said that I had said to my husband before “I swear there is something wrong with me, I know I have all these things going on but it can’t be normal to be this tired all the time!” Now I know it is because my body was attempting to fight my cells turning on themselves.
I know it is harder to diagnose but do keep an eye on your energy levels as they can be a strong indicator that something is wrong.
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For Bowel Cancer Awareness Month I will be blogging daily about Bowel Cancer to help raise money for Bowel Cancer Awareness UK. Please give what you can to this fabulous charity.