Juliana’s Story

There’s a saying “Life begins at 40” but for me it was very nearly the end of my life. Not long after my 40th Birthday celebration I was diagnosed with advanced stage 3 colon Cancer. I was otherwise a fit active & healthy Mum of 3 children under 5 years old.

I had noticed some blood in my stools & followed up with GP. We both thought this was as a result of the recent birth of our 3rd child so was treated for haemorrhoids. After time went on & no improvement, I had a colonoscopy which confirmed Cancer.

Within weeks I had to wean my baby, leave my family & home in rural Timaru to stay in Christchurch at Daffodil House for 6 weeks of intensive radiation & chemo to try shrink the tumour so operating would be possible.

I knew I had to adapt to my new life so I could benefit from the treatment. I was able to keep baby Arabella with me which gave us all in Daffodil house some joy & hope in an otherwise dark time.

I continued Chemo & had several surgical procedures. This included lower anterior resection, removing part of rectum & colon. A loop ileostomy & stoma (opening in my abdomen with a “poo” bag attached as my 2 & 4yr referred to it). I also had to have a total hysterectomy due to likely spread of cells.

Following this was more chemo & stoma reversal.

I still don’t know how I managed to stay positive & battle this disease all while raising our young children. There are so many people that came out of the woodwork & many of whom weren’t those I expected to be there. Cancer affects nearly everyone you come across in some way. I don’t want anyone to have go through the same experience & knowledge is power so if I can help even one person be more aware of changes in their digestive system get earlier help & avoid Cancer then I’m happy to share my Return Journey.

I am now Cancer free, our baby has just started school, and I’m taking every opportunity to get the best out of life.