Beating bowel cancer together

Why Trevor's taking on the challenge of Decembeard

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Trevor was diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer in November 2019, aged 64. He's taking part in Decembeard to raise awareness of bowel cancer and raise money for the charity.

My story doesn't begin with my own diagnosis, but with my dad. Back in 2019 he was admitted to hospital with a bowel obstruction, everything seemed fine, but all wasn't as it seemed. In the September of 2020 he was rushed to hospital, where the truth started to emerge. He, for whatever reason, had kept the real diagnosis to himself. He lived over 400 miles away and was shielding due to coronavirus, so this was easy for him to do. He had even gone to the point of instructing doctors not to inform us. The first we knew about it was when he was rushed to hospital and we were informed he was to going be receiving palliative care. It was a total a total shock! He died on the 4 October 2020, aged 88.

In terms of my story. I started to have an upset stomach, bloating, not sleeping well and I thought I had passed some blood in my stool, but as this was only on one occasion, I wasn't too concerned. The uncomfortable stomach ache did concern me as it didn't go away. I had put it down to stress I had gone through, maybe even a bit of irritable bowel syndrome.

Something made me go to my GP surgery, just to be sure. I must mention at this stage I became very emotional recollecting my thoughts. My doctor, who will always be a hero in my eyes, had the foresight to investigate further and sent me for a colonoscopy.

Most of the hospital at this time was under strict COVID rules, a surreal experience in itself! I must confess it wasn't a pleasant experience, but the shock was yet to come. While other patients came and went, I was held back and asked if anyone could come to be with me. Alarm bells were ringing and I felt a sick feeling coming over me. I was put in a deserted waiting room and left with my partner for what seemed an eternity. The doctor who did my colonoscopy informed me that I had bowel cancer. I felt the blood drain from my body.

I had my operation to remove a section of my large bowel on Christmas Eve, and didn't require any additional treatment. I was discharged from hospital on New Year's Eve.

It's been nearly one year of living with a stoma and I'm about to have my first scan, so feeling quite anxious.

The last year has been mentally stretching and stressful, going through my dad's bereavement, COVID restrictions, regaining my strength and fitness following my operation, and contending with issues with my stoma. All of which have left me with a big lack of confidence in myself.

Signing up for Decembeard is my way of saying thank you to the work being done and to raise awareness of bowel cancer to others. Everyone has a different story to tell and it's therapeutic for the individual to put their thoughts out there for all to share. Of course, I also wanted to raise money to advance the wonderful research being done.

Thank you to everyone who is putting their razors away and embracing their facial fuzz throughout December. It's because of your support for Decembeard we can continue to help save lives and improve the quality of life of everyone affected by bowel cancer.

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