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My mother's bowel cancer story

Grandparents and children sharing tips and stories

From Hayley Storrs in Wakefield

Last year my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer. I hope her story will encourage people to get checked and to always stay positive.

Last summer I was having problems with my stomach and was referred to a specialist where my mother accompanied me. I was asked the usual routine questions about my medical history and as we were leaving I just happened to mention that my grandad (my mother's dad) who died 10 years ago, had suffered from bowel cancer. My specialist expressed some concern at this news and strongly advised my mother to get checked. But my mother being my mother insisted that there was nothing wrong and put it off for 2 months despite suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It was eventually my dad who persuaded her to go after an odd dream he had.

She was sent to a private hospital for a colonoscopy. When she was brought to recovery the specialist came to see her and told her he had sent a polyp which had been found in her bowel off for a biopsy. None of us were particularly worried and carried on as normal - until we came home 2 days later to find a message on our answering machine for my mother asking for an 'urgent' appointment. It was at that point that we knew my mother had cancer.

The next day my mother was told she had a tumour on her bowel and was diagnosed with bowel cancer. We were all completely devastated; as soon as I heard the word 'cancer' I almost collapsed. She was sent in for an immediate MRI scan to find out if the cancer had spread which was a huge concern for us but luckily it hadn't and she was at stage 1.

A week later she had her operation to remove the tumour which was a success and possibly the longest 3 hours of my entire life. After this she was in hospital for a week and despite being very sick from the morphine and unable to walk she recovered very well. We were told there was no need for chemotherapy and she was allowed to come home.

One year on, my mother is still in remission. She is due back for an MRI scan in June which we are hoping will be all clear. We later found out after some research that 5 descendants of ours had suffered from bowel cancer, of which 2 had died.

Cancer does not have to be the end. Throughout that horrible time everyone was so positive and kept looking to the future. This is what helped my mother the most. Cancer doesn't have to be such a scary word. Bowel cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in the UK. If you feel anything unusual or out of the ordinary please get checked, or get a second opinion. My mother had no idea her tumour was even there until she was checked.

I know her story is more of a success story but cancer affects everyone in different ways and it changed our lives forever, for the better. She lives each day as if it was her last and never ever gives up hope.

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Updated: 28 September 2009