Beating bowel cancer together

Ashton Pole, Caerphilly

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My dad, Alan was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer in October 2020, at 59 years old.

In October 2020, we received the horrible news that my dad had been diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer. After his diagnosis things moved swiftly and three days later on 26 October he had surgery which left him with a stoma.

In December 2020, he started his first lot of chemotherapy. He handled this really well and he even continued to go out on his bike, going for walks and kept busy by doing as much as he could. Ten days later our family celebrated Christmas together (little did I know it would be our last one). After Christmas my dad continued to do well with his chemotherapy and had a total of four cycles every three weeks.

On 26 March 2021, we had the best news, my dad's tumour had shrunk and it was gone from the peritoneum. He had his last cycle of the chemotherapy on 30 March and he could then have a break from the chemotherapy for a few months.

However, on 28 May 2021 my dad went away for a few days with my auntie, nan and cousins. He started to feel unwell and had pain in his stomach. This continued and throughout June, he was having good days and bad days. Thankfully he was well enough to go camping for two nights on 19 June.

On 28 June my dad went for another scan after having a break from the chemotherapy for three months.

While we awaited the results we celebrated my dad's 60th on 3 July with family and friends. Everyone had a brilliant night, it was a proper Pole party!

However, on 12 July 2021 my dad received his results from his scan, unfortunately the tumour had grown and he would have to have more chemotherapy. He started his treatment on 28 July however this time he had a different form of chemotherapy which included a PICC line.

As the weeks went on, my dad started to get weaker, it was horrible to see.

From the end of May until beginning of August, my dad was feeling uncomfortable with the pain in his stomach. On 2 August he went back to the hospital and he had to have fluid drained from his stomach.

By 22 August I knew my dad was very ill when he said to me "I'm sorry Ash, I'm not going to make it." I thought to myself and said to him "You've got nothing to be sorry for."

On 23 August he had an appointment in Velindre Cancer Centre where they kept him in for three nights and told him and us that unfortunately there was no more they could do. He came home on the 26 August. I spent a lot of time at my parents that week and cherished the times there.

On 1 September 2021 he was very ill and it was horrible to see how he went downhill in 24 hours. He fought long and hard every day for 313 days, but on day 314 he couldn't fight any more and sadly passed away at home.

Not every day was a physical fight as he had his good days but every day was an emotional and mental fight for him. Since 23 October 2020, it's been very tough for us all and seeing someone you love and care for deteriorate is heart breaking.

Please raise as much awareness as you can guys, let's stop people suffering from this horrible disease.

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