Tanya was a busy working wife and mother of two teenagers, getting on with life, when she was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in October 2014.
The East Maitland local worked in real estate and put her ongoing fatigue down to the very busy hours she was working.
“I started getting more sleep in the hope it would help, but it didn’t. A few months before I was diagnosed I started randomly vomiting and feeling uncomfortable after I ate. I also had mucus in my stool. I unfortunately didn’t put two and two together and get checked.”
After developing abdominal pain, Tanya’s GP sent her to the ER suspecting appendicitis.
“I was referred to a colorectal surgeon for a sigmoidoscopy but the surgeon was unable to perform the scope as a tumour was found and was blocking most of my bowel.”
Within two days, Tanya underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour and a large section of her bowel. A temporary ileostomy (an opening in the abdominal wall made during surgery allowing bowel motions to pass) allowed the bowel time to heal.
Ten days later Tanya received the devastating news that she had stage three adenocarcinoma that had spread to five of the 27 lymph nodes that had been removed.
Six gruelling months of chemotherapy every two weeks followed.
“To say it was difficult is a hell of an understatement, however keeping a positive attitude sure did help. My daughter Breanna, who was 15 at the time, also shaved her long hair to raise money for the Cancer Council. She raised $5,758 and we are all very proud of her.”
Now 40, Tanya has follow up tests every three months, all of which have been good news so far. She encourages people to look after their health and access services offered by organisations like Cancer Council NSW.
“Thank you Cancer Council NSW for doing such an amazing job.”
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