MOTHER spent two weeks planning her own funeral after ignoring the signs of bowel cancer.
Tasha Thor-Straten, 49, brushed the blood in her stool as a symptom of “work or parental stress”.
But when the blood became “too much to strip,” Tasha reluctantly went to the doctor, who offered her a colonoscopy.
Two weeks later, the mother, from Rochford, Essexwas told she had terminal bowel cancer, which had spread to her lungs.
Destroyed Tasha returned home and began planning her funeral until one-year test results offered a window of hope.
The mother received treatment for the 3rd stage cancer after the lung nodes spotted doctors were found to be benign.
She received four rounds of chemistry – during which Tasha made contact Mrs. Deborah James for support.
The star columnist of the Sun Dame Deborah, known online as Bowel Babe, was awarded a Damehood this month for her “tireless campaigning” to raise awareness about bowel cancer.
Addressing his own battle with cancerTasha said: “I can’t describe the feeling when someone tells you you have a terminal illness.
“I was only 44, with young kids and a new relationship and suddenly the carpet was pulled from under my feet.
“I feel incredibly lucky to still be here today, so I’m now working as a life coach helping other cancer patients understand things like how their diet can improve their health while on treatment.”
Tasha – who moved in with her new partner Russ shortly before her diagnosis – recounted how she ignored the signs of bowel cancer.
She added: “I ignore the blood in my feces.
“I didn’t think about it at all and I assumed it was just because of things like work or parental stress.
“I went to mine GP surgery twice and angrily said anything because I was afraid of the process and what might happen next.
“When I look back on that time, there were other symptoms, such as pain in my stomach during exercise and lower back pain, but I put that into excessive exertion.
“By Christmas 2016 the blood loss had become too great and I reluctantly went to the doctor who sent me for a colonoscopy.”
Just two weeks after her colonoscopy, on January 27, 2017, Tasha was brought in for her results.
She was told she had a terminal bowel cancer which spread to her lungs – and palliative care was offered.
“It was completely shocking and devastating,” Tasha added.
“It never occurred to me that my symptoms could be bowel cancer. I was fit, healthy and took care of my diet and there was no history of it in my family.
“Finding out that not only was it cancer, but that I was going to die of it, was almost too bearable.”
But things got better unexpectedly and very welcome when Tasha returned to hospital for further results in February 2017.
She said: “On further inspection, while I have lung nodules, the doctors discovered that they are not cancer. That’s right, I got a window of hope.”
Told that she had stage 3 cancer, due to her new findings, she was eligible for invasive and possibly life-saving surgery.
She said: “It was not a time like the present.
It never occurred to me that my symptoms could be bowel cancer. I was fit, healthy and took care of my diet and there was no history of it in my family.
“I went in for my surgery on February 28. They cut the part of my gut where the cancer was, which was about a 35mm tumor, and then they had to put my gut back together.”
The surgery was successful and, after a few weeks of recovery, Tasha began chemotherapy.
She said: “I couldn’t stand the first two rounds of chemotherapy, so my doctors extended the time in between to give my body more time to heal.
“However, my side effects were severe, including extreme fatigue, sadness, nerve pain and a negative reaction to sunlight and cold.”
It was during this treatment that she came in contact Mrs. Deborah James.
She said: “I saw on social media that she was struggling to sleep because of treatment. I had the same experience, so I texted her.
“It was really nice to talk to someone who understood exactly what I was going through. She offered me some advice and it was a real comfort. “
In August 2017, Tasha received the completely cancer-free.
The signs of bowel cancer you need to know – remember BOWEL
- B: Bleeding
There are several possible causes of bleeding from your bottom, from blood in your stool.
Bright red blood could come from swollen blood vessels, hemorrhoids or piles, in your back passage.
Dark red or black blood could come from your gut or stomach.
Blood in your stools is one of the main signs of bowel cancer, so it’s important to mention it to your doctor so they can investigate.
2. O: An obvious change in lookoutims
It is important to tell your doctor if you have noticed any changes in your bowel habits that last for three weeks or longer.
It is especially important if you also notice signs of blood in your stool.
You may notice that you need to go to the dressing room more often, you may have softer stools or feel like you are not going to go enough or completely emptying your bowels.
Don’t worry, your doctor will have heard much worse! Talk and check it out.
3. W: Weight loss
This is less common than the other symptoms, but important awareness. If you have lost weight and do not really know why, it is worth mentioning it to your doctor.
You may not feel like eating, you feel sick, bloated and not hungry.
4. E: Extreme fatigue
Bowel cancer, which causes bleeding, can cause iron deficiency in the body – anemia. If you develop anemia, you will probably feel tired and your skin may look pale.
5. L: A lump or pain
As with many other forms of cancer, a lump or pain can be a sign of bowel cancer.
Most likely you will notice pain or a lump in your stomach or back passage.
See your doctor if it does not go away, or if it affects how you eat or sleep