Bowel cancer - Lester's story 

Lester talks about how he discovered he had bowel cancer. He and his wife Carolyn offer advice to others about coping with the diagnosis.

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Transcript of Bowel cancer - Lester's story

When I started finding that there were blood flecks or whatever on the tissue

and from the actual softness and the looseness of the actual poo,

it's graphic, but that's what it is. It's poo.

Clearly, this was not normal.

I didn't directly tell anybody.

Carolyn, my wife, actually, who is very shrewd,

she recognised that I was paying more visits to the bathroom.

She said to me, "Are you OK?"

I said, "I'm fine." She said, "Hmm, tell me."

I don't normally let things go very long before I do something about it.

I suppose it's being a mum.

If you can see that something's wrong with someone,

you think, "We'll find out what's going on."

She was very concerned.

And she did that dangerous thing by going to the corner to the computer,

putting my symptoms in...

I always go on the internet which I know can be a bad thing.

People say you'll find stuff that will frighten you.

But I think it gives you a good overview of what's around.

I looked at some reputable sites.

But obviously, you need to go to the GP and find out properly what it is,

because it could have been all sorts of things.

Anything with blood is always a warning.

Blood is always a warning that something's not right.

It's not particularly sociable, really,

to talk about bowels and poo and bottoms and things like this.

So, yes, there is an embarrassment about it.

I'm not sure who made the appointment, whether it was you or me.

I think it probably was me, but certainly with a big shove from Carolyn.

I was referred by my GP to the local hospital.

There was a series of tests.

I had an internal examination. He knew exactly what was what.

There was no choice. It was surgery.

When I came home,

I said that I was going to be as positive as I possibly could be

and I wanted her and I wanted the girls to be equally as positive.

(Carolyn) We've always been a close family.

I think this has brought us closer.

We do value each other terrifically.

We actually do feel that the support of each other is very, very helpful.

Everybody was brilliant. When I was on chemotherapy,

all the nurses that looked after me, the oncologist,

the radiotherapists that were involved with me in this journey,

everybody was absolutely superb as far as I'm concerned.

I can only thank them and I can't praise them highly enough.

What has encouraged me is now seeing in the chemist's

some of the literature about bowel cancer.

It's definitely more spoken about now.

But go to the GP. Don't leave it.

Leave it too long and you might leave it too late.

If you're caught early, you stand such a good chance of recovery.

I don't recall anybody actually saying I'm all clear of bowel cancer.

But we're something like almost ten years on now

and I believe that I'm as clear as anybody could ever be clear.

These days, I'm now a self-employed gardener

which I thoroughly enjoy, working outdoors and being outdoors.

Yes, I just love it. So that's a result.

So how do I feel? Yes, great, thank you.


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