My name is Martin and I’m a happily married father of three and grandfather of one, working as a General Manager in the building industry. I want people to hear my story so that they understand that bowel cancer can happen to anyone at any time.
I was sent the bowel screen test kit in 2006. I took the test and the results came back negative. In mid-April 2011, I noticed blood in my stools and thankfully I acted immediately. I am normally a procrastinator, but in this instance I acted swiftly. I saw my GP straightaway and was referred to a gastroenterologist. I had a colonoscopy in June and was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer, which had gone into the bowel wall. I had often wondered how I would react if ever I was told of such a problem. I was actually very calm and I guess my practical nature just said….ok, that’s the prognosis, now how do we deal with it? That’s exactly what I said to the doctor.
Unlike many people, I had severe symptoms for some time before I got my diagnosis. For four weeks during the time of seeing my doctor and being diagnosed I had very bad stomach pains and was completely unable to eat.
When I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 23 June 2011, I didn’t even ask what stage the cancer was at – I just wanted to know what I had to do to fight it.
My initial symptoms were rectal bleeding, a change of bowel habit and stomach pain. Eighteen months prior, I had started bleeding and had a colonoscopy which showed nothing. The last colonoscopy five years prior to that had showed a polyp and an unknown growth, neither of which were diagnosed as a cancer. There is no family history of bowel cancer on either side of my family either.