Hello my name is Nigel, I’m 44 and this is my story of beating hereditary bowel cancer.
Hearing the words bowel cancer was part of growing up in my family.
From a young age, I had two checkups a year along with my two brothers. We continued this testing until it was discovered you could be diagnosed with a blood test. My results came back that I had the gene that causes bowel cancer. My brothers both came back negative. Did I let it bother me no. On reflection, I thought it would but it didn’t bother me at all, after all bowel cancer was not unheard-of in our family. After my diagnosis, I underwent an internal examination where polyps were discovered in my large bowel.
In December 2002 I had a my large bowel removed and the small bowel made into a pouch.
While my insides healed I was fitted with a colostomy bag. I found it weird at first but soon got used to it as my mum had a permanent one. I called mine Fred as he always made noises when it was quiet.
Three weeks after getting out of hospital I went to watch my 6 a side team play. Did I say I’m footy mad. Unfortunately they were a player short and I made the decision to play. Not the best game I had, I was in goal and let in 8 goals, but I played which kept me going.
So the next few weeks I was back to work and playing football more. If my friends asked me if I needed to sit I would say its OK I have my own stool. I just couldn’t help myself but to keep on joking about it all. Fast forward 8 months and I had the bag removed and felt normal again.
OK the scars will always be there and I thought of the things I wanted to do.
I continued to play football and enjoy running the local half marathon. OK I was young when I had the operations it was 20 years ago and went through the all the paranoid thoughts of swimming and other stuff but you overcome these things with positive thoughts.
My advice for anyone undergoing investigations or treatment – don’t let the cancer scare you into a corner, stand up and come out fighting. Do things that you want to do not what you can’t do. Don’t let it control you, you do the controlling. You will have down days but keep going never give in. And if all that fails, speak to your friends and your family. Support is good and it’s there if you need it.
And last of all
Listen to yourself and push past the barriers that you’ve put up and don’t let any cancer win the fight.
I hope this will help anyone as these are just my thoughts and how I coped through it all.
From a young age, Nigel Allen had two checkups a year along with my with his two brothers for bowel cancer. When he was 20 he had his large bowel removed and the small bowel made into a pouch. His story is of positivity and coping with hereditary cancer.