Nicki’s Story

I had been experiencing pain when going to the bathroom and, soft stools and a change in my bowel movements for about one year or so. I had been to my local GP on numerous occasions and been told I could be lactose intolerant or have IBS and also tested for celiac disease and colitis. All negative.

However, my CEA was through the roof. This was still not enough of a problem for my GP to not send me for an urgent colonoscopy. She said. “Highly unlikely to be anything sinister as you’re too young”. I waited just over a year on a low-priority waiting list to finally get the colonoscopy done. The cancer was so huge that the doctor couldn’t do the exam properly as my colon was blocked by this mass. Hence, all the pain I was in.

I sat in the waiting room afterwards, not knowing the outcome but thinking everything was fine as I was too young to get bowel cancer and waited for my husband. I noticed that the doctors and nurses were giving me sympathetic looks, but still, I didn’t acknowledge something was wrong. When my husband arrived, they ushered us into a private room to give the bad news. We were in denial.

I’m was just too young my GP had said. The doctor that performed the colonoscopy was visibly upset and angry as he said I should have been pushed through way sooner than this with the symptoms I had.

I was then sent for a CT scan, which supposedly confirmed that it hadn’t spread and then booked in for surgery. I remember waking up after the surgery, and the first thing I did was touch my abdomen to see if I had a colostomy bag. Thank goodness I didn’t. I was then booked in for six months of chemo to mop up any stray cancer cells. Almost two years later, my CT scan came back with small tumours in both lungs.

They were visible on the first CT scan but were very small and not picked up. Again, I was incredibly lucky that they were operable and had two operations, one on each Lung, to remove them. I thought that was it, but alas, a year later, my CEA kept increasing, and my specialist said that he believed something was up again. I was CT-scanned every three months, and the last scan showed a tumour in my omentum.

Again, I was very lucky that it was operable and had a super amazing surgeon who had just come back from the UK after specialising in this op for seven years. He cut me open from my chest to my lower abdomen and took my omentum out and basically everything else I didn’t need. That surgeon was my angel. That was three years ago, and now I’m going from strength to strength. My bloods are the best they’ve ever been, and I feel like the Grim Reaper isn’t on my shoulder. The anxiety never goes away, though, and I think that every day is a blessing and it’s a privilege to get older, as it’s not given to everyone.