Diagnosed at 37 with stage 3 cancer while on maternity leave with a 7 month old and a 3 year old
Diagnosed cT3dN1M0 stage 3 downgraded ypT0N0M0 stage 0 (no sign of cancer) after neoaduvant chemotherapy followed by surgery.
09/07/2019 - GP urgent referral for colonoscopy after describing change in bowel movements since February a few weeks after giving birth (constipation and looser stools) and two single episodes of blood in March and April. The symptoms were so gradual that the first months after giving birth, I associated them to post pregnancy body. I got referred to a pelvic floor physio. I got a bit scared with the blood in March but it happened only once and I linked it to piles (that I had after pregnancy). So when it happened once again in April I was not too worried and the GP advised a treatment. Fast forward in June, no blood, no pain, but I was going up to 8 times a day to the bathroom. Pelvic floor was ok so it was another problem. With a history of my symptoms since February, it was time to see the GP again. I am so grateful she did not dismiss my symptoms.
23/07/2019 - Colonoscopy: bulky tumour (6-7 cm) at 17cm from the anal verge
25/07/2019 - CT Scan
31/07/2019 - MRI
01/08/2019 - Colorectal cancer confirmed without metastasis, poorly differentiated
23/08/2019 - Loop colostomy (keyhole surgery)
02/09/2019 - First appointment with oncologist, 3 months FOLFOXIRI + Avastin
10/09/2019 - First cycle FOLFOXIRI
24/09/2019 - Second cycle FOLFOXIRI + Avastin (7h30 in chair)
10/10/2019 - Third cycle FOLFOXIRI + Avastin (half way through!)
24/10/2019 - Fourth cycle FOLFOXIRI + Avastin (hospital stay a week later)
12/11/2019 - Fifth cycle FOLFOXIRI + Avastin (dose reduction 20%)
26/11/2019 - Sixth cycle FOLFOXIRI + Avastin (well deserved break now)
5/12/2019 - MRI
6/12/2019 - CT scan
11/12/2019 - Oncologist appointment - fantastic response! 90% of the tumour shrunk
09/01/2020 - Surgeon appointment
18/02/2020 - High anterior resection + stoma reversal
05/03/2020 - No cancerous cells found in the tumour, this is described as a pathological complete response. I'm officially cancer free!!
24&29/06/2020 - Clear colonoscopy and MRI+CT scan, to repeat in three months.
16/10/2020 - Liver MRI, abnormal blood flow but still free of cancer
11/01/2021 - Clear CT !!
12/07/2021 - CT with contrast, was clear again!
13/01/2020 - Clear CT !!
6 weeks after chemo I developped neuropathy in my fingers and toes as well as sensitivity to cold, but the good news is that it has slowly gone.
Useful resources (work in progress):
* During cancer treatment:
- Penny Brohn Online Treatment Support Programme: www.pennybrohn.org.uk/sessions/online-cancer-treatment-support/
* After cancer treatment:
- HOPE programme: www.h4c.org.uk/courses-all/2022/hope-programme-for-cancer-survivors
Yoga classes: www.wigwam.org.uk/yoga-sessions
Pre-habilitation programme: www.kentandmedwayprehab.org/
Ask the expert video Q&A: Regaining bowel control