Bowel cancer runs in our family
Because so many people in my family have died of bowel cancer, I thought I would just have a few weeks to live after it was diagnosed. It didn’t dawn on me that I could survive. I was extremely lucky to have such professional doctors in charge of my treatment.
Right before I got cancer I had been on vacation. I had a great time and was feeling fantastic. It never occurred to me that there was any chance I might get cancer. I didn’t notice anything at all – no pain, no weight loss and no problems with digestion. If the tumor hadn't started bleeding, I probably would've only noticed it much later on.
When I was out of the hospital and back home, I felt I had to do something. I couldn’t just wait around thinking that I had no influence and seeing if things improved or not. I went to the library and checked out every book on bowel cancer to learn and read about my condition. There I read about a clinic that can test whether your cancer is hereditary. I then also had this test done. They also put together my family tree and diagnosed HNPCC (hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer).
After getting out of the hospital I had rehabilitation treatment at a health resort. It was then that I realized I had to start doing more. I can’t just think that the cancer has been cut out now and everything has been taken care of. I wanted to make sure that the cancer never comes back. It was while I was at the health resort that I happened to meet my current doctor. That was the best thing that could've happened to me.
I now regularly have a colonoscopy once a year. The colonoscopy isn’t painful at all – it isn’t a big deal. There’s no reason to be scared of having it done.