Profile

Bear G

Regular user
Male
ABOUT ME

Hi
I'm 53 years old, single but blessed with lots of great friends. I'm an active person who enjoys exercise including yoga and I run my own small business.

I was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer (T3 N0 M1) in May 2013 and had fast-growing secondaries in my liver and both lungs. I was also found to be KRAS mutant.

My primary tumour was obstructing my bowel and located at the rectosigmoid junction. I had an anterior resection to remove the large primary tumour (23 :x: 6.5 cm) and then aggressive chemo of FOLFIRI (irinotecan, 5FU and folinic acid) plus Avastin for 6 months which was very successful, my liver and one lung is now clear, the other lung has just small spots. The planned abIation for my lung metastases was cancelled following the success of my chemo. I'm very lucky.

In January 2014 I started on long-term maintenance chemotherapy (Avastin plus capcitabine every 3 weeks) which is keeping things under control, I've been told I'm on this for life. I have a CT scan every 3 months as I'm on active treatment.

Throughout my treatment I've tried to maintain a positive outlook and my chemo nurses reckon that's made a big difference to my response to chemo. I've also tried to continue living a 'normal' life - working, socialising and also traveling a lot (throughout Europe and to the US numerous times). I've even been to Bali and am planning a trip to Brunei, Borneo and Vietnam!

As a bit of a curve ball, in May 2015 I was hit by a car whilst sitting in a coffee shop. This resulted in 2 operations and a solid 2 weeks in hospital. From the cancer point of view it also meant having to take almost 3 months off my maintenance chemo, thankfully no new growths appeared during the break. I'm still undergoing physical rehab and needed quite a bit of counselling for PTSD.

Late in 2015 my oncologist told me my prognosis was probably no more than 3 years (around 5.5 years in total). Obviously I'm aiming to live longer than that but I've drawn up a bucket list and am making the most of my time by enjoying ticking things off the list with my friends and family!

In May 2017 I had a recurrence of a lung metastasis which has been successfully treated with radio frequency ablation (RFA).

November 2017 - stable scan but I’ve chosen to restart maintenance chemo. That way I feel like I’m doing something positive to control the cancer!

May 2018 - the fifth anniversary of my diagnosis and the best comments yet from my oncologist - as things are going so well let’s aim for another five years! He made it clear in a fair way that this was a stretch but he’s a convert to positive thinking!

March 2019 - after a few scans showing ‘areas of concern’, my latest scan shows nothing at all, “NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE” according to the referral letter! Taking a few months off maintenance chemo to let my body recover and do a bit of travelling (New York, Brunei, Borneo, Vietnam and Isle of Wight all booked)!

March 2020 - CLEAR FOR A YEAR! Still NED. Now on 6-monthly scans.

May 2020 - celebrating SEVEN YEARS with stage 4 bowel cancer. Very proud and thankful.

I've set up Strive for Five (www.striveforfive.org), a campaign to give hope to people with stage 4 bowel cancer, to raise awareness of the disease and to raise funds for Bowel Cancer UK.
You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter as @striveforfiveBC

A DIAGNOSIS OF STAGE 4 BOWEL CANCER DOESN'T HAVE TO MEAN THE END OF YOUR LIFE, IT CAN BE THE REASON TO START LIVING IT!

Previously, I was a Volunteer Moderator on this Forum for over 5 years and I continue to be a Bowel Cancer Patient Voice for this charity.

Big hugs
Bear (Steve)
:x::x: