I did the typical bloke thing of ignoring it. Mainly because I’ve been brought up to be a typical man and just ignore stuff. Like most blokes do.
My dad and granddad were quite men’s men and it obviously rubbed off on me. I had pain for probably four or five months that I ignored. Just ignored and ignored and ignored.
My girlfriend Lisa kept on at me for months to go to the doctor, probably four or five months, because the pain was intense enough that I was curled up on my side. If I’d gone earlier, I probably would have been diagnosed sooner. And I guess it would have been easier to deal with.
I put it down to irritable bowel syndrome. So I started keeping a food diary. But the missus was still pleading with me to go to the doctor, so I finally went about the middle of November, December-ish. My GP had a prod and a poke and all the rest of it, but the thing that he picked up on most was my weight loss, which I hadn’t really noticed.
After that it was like my body started collapsing. I was vomiting as well. Massively. And I just felt horrendous. It was literally like my body had been putting up a front and then it sort of knew it was there and relaxed.
I went for a colonoscopy. I sort of knew what was coming, so I was quite blasé about it, as ridiculous as it sounds. So the doctor told me it was cancer and I said, ‘All right, what are we going to do about it then?’
My dad went red and got angry as he does. Not angry at the doctors, just angry at the diagnosis. My mum cried, then everyone outside cried and I was just very calm. I think because I’d prepared myself for it. I knew there was going to be surgery so I took on the chin.
The doctor started talking about keyhole surgery, to which I politely said no, I do not want keyhole – because I knew the size of the tumour and I didn’t want them to miss a bit.
After the surgery I was assigned a Macmillan nurse, Theresa. The doctors gave me great advice but it was all very methodical and practical, whereas with my Macmillan nurse it was more personal. She got to know me and who I was.
Without Macmillan, I think there would be a lot of scared people. There were times when I was scared. When I didn’t really know what would happen. But the information I got from Macmillan comforted me. I had that knowledge of what was to come.