In the last episode of our bowel cancer series, the panel chat about life after bowel cancer; the continued support from healthcare professionals, adapting and coping with day-to-day life.
Lauren Swankie, National Cancer Campaign Manager
Patients would return to clinic every three to six months, sometimes it’s once a year. So they will still be under the umbrella of the team. They will have access to the Macmillan team as well, for as long as they want.
I see my consultant at the moment every six months, everything has been absolutely fine. It’s a very, very caring profession. Very professional every single step of the way.
We always say to our patients, even if they have finished treatment and they are in remission, you’re still under our care and you can always call us with a question, if you start worrying about something or have any symptoms. We always maintain a relationship with our patients.
There are different stoma bags, some you can see through, and others that I use now that you can’t see into. So, from a point of view that I don’t want people to see my poo, I use the ones that you can cover up, I like to do this but it doesn’t stop you doing anything.
I had my cancer; I had my pouch and my ileostomy. Six months later my dad had a similar operation and got a colostomy and he said that I got him through it because I knew what it was all about. I could teach him, I’ve shown him how positive I could be.
I don’t want people to think it’s a stigma. I’m not ashamed that I’ve had bowel cancer. I’m not ashamed that I’ve got a stoma. It’s a part of what’s happened. It’s my normality.
I’m very grateful that I’m still here to enjoy my life, so gratitude, that’s massive. Enjoy every moment, enjoying the outdoors, do what you love. If you can, go out there and do things that you maybe haven’t done before. Make every day count. Move forwards, not back. Learn from the experience.