Katrina’s Story

I am a busy and active Mum of two toddlers and receiving a Bowel Cancer diagnosis in early 2023 was quite a surprise! Like many others my age who are diagnosed, I didn’t have any of the usual risk factors – I am an active non-smoker who enjoys a balanced diet and general good health.

My GP made the correct call to order a series of tests for me after our family experienced about 6 weeks of continuous illness after our two toddlers began daycare.

When I was diagnosed it was initially thought to be a stage 2 cancer, so I completed a short course of radiation, followed by surgery. After surgery it turned out the cancer was stage 3, so I also completed three months of chemotherapy, followed by a second surgery. It took about 7 months in total for the various treatments, and I had most of that time off work. I found radiation and the surgeries to be relatively manageable, however chemotherapy was quite a struggle for me – despite the doctors concluding that I ‘tolerated it well’! A cancer doctor definition of tolerating something well is hugely different to my own.

I am glad to be now moving into the surveillance stage and looking forward to building up my energy and fitness again. I recommend all people my age be vigilant of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer. The symptoms can be remarkably mild even at a late stage.