My Dad, 64 years young, has just been diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer. Despite me being a pharmacist and knowing that his symptoms (recent-onset heartburn and nausea) could potentially be The Big C, I still feel as though I’ve been hit by a bolt out of the blue.
When I encouraged him to speak to his GP, I knew that cancer was a potential diagnosis, but nothing prepared me, or my family, for the shocking news that the cancer had already metastasised to his liver and lung.
Dad is now three weeks into his bowel cancer journey. He is fit, with no other pre-existing health conditions and has always eaten a healthy diet. He doesn’t smoke, and his alcohol intake is within recommended limits. He participated in the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in 2008 and again in Feb 2011; both test results were negative. There is no cancer in his family, and he had no symptoms until three months ago. We are struggling to comprehend how this could have happened, right underneath all our noses.
We have been told that Dad’s primary tumour is located in the transverse colon, and has probably been there for anywhere between three and five years. At the moment, the multi-disciplinary team consider the tumour to be “too complicated” to be removed by surgery. The first appointment with the oncologist is on 24th October, where we will discuss chemotherapy options. The K-RAS test has been ordered.
In the meantime, we are trying to come to terms with this devastating news. Ours is a strong family unit: my brother and his family live around the corner from Mum and Dad, and I live half-an-hour away with my husband. We have pulled together and decided, as a family, to meet this head-on, together.
I’ve been very impressed with the quality of information available from Beating Bowel Cancer. As the “medical” person in the family, I’ve been reading up on all aspects of the condition and have found this website very helpful. As such, I’ve sent a donation and said hello on the charity’s Facebook page. People have been very friendly and invited me to post on the forum, so here I am!
My Mum and Dad (Enid and Andy) will probably visit this forum from time to time, so if you’d like to leave a message for our family, we’d love to hear from you.
Nice to meet you all!