Lynn Haveron, Newtownabbey, NI
I was diagnosed at 52 years old with stage 2 bowel cancer. I’m now in remission.
For about eight months, I was constantly feeling very ill with cold and flu-like symptoms, I had tummy aches and I was losing weight. After four months, I went to the GP sometimes arriving at the practice crying in pain. Every time I went the GP prescribed my antibiotics. At one visit the GP reassured me it wasn’t cancer.
It was only when I started bleeding that my GP sent me for tests. I had a test every month for eight months. They thought I had diverticulosis or Crohn’s disease and prescribed me antibiotics.
At one visit the GP reassured me it wasn’t cancer.
I took a picture of the blood that I was seeing and showed it to a different doctor, who straight away referred me for a colonoscopy. This was when I was diagnosed with stage 2 bowel cancer, it had spread to my pelvis. I had five weeks’ worth of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I then had surgery to have a stoma put in.
My life has totally changed and living with a stoma can be difficult. However the way I see it is I’m alive and every day is so precious to me. I live every day like it’s my last and do things I’d never have done before. I’m loving life. I’ve started my own business and go on volunteering holidays.
Obviously the impact of having cancer affects all the family, but it’s my eldest son that has been affected most as he lives with me. My mum still hasn’t got over it and she’s just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
I now work as a volunteer for Bowel Cancer UK, helping spread awareness of the disease, its symptoms and how people can lower their risk of developing it. I’m also very pleased to say that I’ve now been all clear for four years.