David from Pencoed
Our PYB Health Hero this month is David, a retired Minister from Pencoed who has agreed to tell his story to help us raise awareness of Bowel Cancer.
David is a happily married father of 3 daughters and has 10 grandkids to keep him busy. After retiring just 2 years ago, David was diagnosed with Bowel Cancer after taking part in the routine screening program provided by the NHS.
Bowel Cancer is one of the most common types of cancer diagnosis in the UK and as such routine screening is offered to all our patients between the ages of 60 & 75 years old. When David took part in the screening program he was fit and healthy and without symptoms but he didn’t think twice about sending off samples to get screened, in his words “it’s like having regular dental check-ups, it’s just part of life and something you just have to get on with.”
When David’s initial screening results came back he was asked to go for a follow up colonoscopy at Merthyr hospital. The results from David’s colonoscopy revealed a cancer in his lower bowel the size of a 50p coin. The consultant also found and removed 2 or 3 smaller polyps during the procedure that if left could possibly have developed further.
“Ok … What is the next step?”
When David was given the bowel cancer diagnosis he was very calm & pragmatic, he wasn’t upset or worried, he just said “Ok… What is the next step?”
The next step was to be booked in for an operation in mid-December to remove the cancer. David was in hospital from the Tuesday to the Saturday and recalls having no fear about the operation and just wanted to get on with it. He put his faith and trust in God and said to God..
“I put my hand in your hand, lead on”
The operation went well & David had a temporary stoma fitted to help his bowel recover. As part of his recovery David was encouraged to walk – which he did – even getting up and pacing the hospital corridor for hours when he couldn’t sleep.
“The staff were all so brilliant, I wasn’t worried at all. I also had no pain at any stage of the process and even on routine checks during my recovery when asked on a pain scale of 1 to 10 how I would describe my pain, I didn’t even want to record my pain as a 1 because I felt absolutely fine.”
By the Saturday David was discharged from the hospital and hasn’t looked back since.
“There is no excuse for ignorance”
When reflecting on his experience we asked David what advice he would like to offer others about bowel cancer screening.
“There is no excuse for ignorance. Ignorance is terrible especially in the older generation as a lot of people have an “ I will be fine mentality” or are too scared or stubborn to take the initial test. I lost an older brother to bowel cancer because he was too stubborn to get checked. By the time the cancer was caught it was too late for him. He was given 6 months to live.
Please take part in the screening program & look after yourself by taking the test. There is nothing to be embarrassed or worried about and it could save your life.”
Or contact your local surgery for more information about Bowel Cancer Screening.
David would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of the NHS staff involved in his care. Here at PYB Health we would like to thank David for sharing his story with us and we wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.