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“We celebrated when I found out I only had rectal cancer with liver metastasis”.

“The first symptom I experienced was some bleeding. I went to my GP who gave me an examination and told me it was most likely haemorrhoids. At the time, I wanted to accept that it wasn’t anything more serious so accepted that diagnosis. Later, I went to a Natural Health practitioner, who had medical training, who did a faecal test and found blood to be present but wasn’t concerned. The medical interactions I had made me feel comfortable and I chose not to take that any further and put it down to haemorrhoids. It was only when I changed GPs and he recommended I have a colonoscopy that I took action.

The colonoscopy revealed a large rectal tumour which I was told had been there for some time. It was a shock, but I decided to try to look at it clinically and not emotionally. I practice yoga and through that, I have the ability to look at myself from the outside, almost looking down on myself. This helped me through. Most helpful was not getting caught up in the whole “Cancer trip” and taking it one step at a time. It wasn’t plain sailing all the way, but I had implicit trust in my team.”

A PET scan was the next step in determining whether Randal’s cancer had spread. Fearing that the scan would reveal a much wider spread of the cancer, it was a relief to Randal and his wife, Kelly that it had not spread further than the liver. He had chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink the rectal tumour. Following surgery to remove the rectal tumour, and several surgeries to remove liver tumours, Randal now has a permanent colostomy bag.

“Having a bag is not a big deal. It was a learning curve but the support and service from the specialist nurses have been second to none. People shouldn’t be concerned about it – it’s very discreet and you just put it on and forget it. It’s easier in some ways than not having it!”

Randal has now been clear of cancer for 2 years and is incredibly grateful to his wife Kelly, family and friends who supported him throughout. “You don’t realise at the time the importance of your support; family, friends and the medical team” As a result of Randal’s experience, Kelly and her business partner set up the Support Crew website, a platform for family and friends to provide practical support to anyone going through a life event like a cancer diagnosis.

As a message to others, Randal says “It’s easy to avoid potentially scary issues like Cancer. Don’t ignore your symptoms or be lulled into a false sense of security and accept a lesser diagnosis. Trust your hunch and push to get a colonoscopy if you have any symptoms.”