04 April 2019
When a nagging pain just below her breastbone just wouldn’t go away, Sutton Coldfield grandmother Debbie Monnox decided to see her GP.
Now, after having a cancerous tumour removed from her bowel, Debbie realises her swift action may have saved her life!
“To be honest, it wasn’t until the intermittent pain became almost constant that I decided to act,” she explained. “But thank goodness I did. The fact that the tumour was spotted early meant it could be surgically removed and I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy treatment.”
Now 58-year-old Debbie, who works in Management Accounts for a local company, is using Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, which runs throughout April, to advise others to be on the lookout for any tell-tale signs and act quickly if they think something is wrong.
“The only symptom I may have had was tiredness, which I put down to my busy life,” she explained. “But when you start getting pains in the chest region there isn’t any point taking chances.”
Tests showed Debbie to be badly anaemic and it was this that alerted clinicians at Spire Little Aston Hospital, where she had gone for exploratory scopes, to the fact that it could be bowel cancer.
“When they broke the news to me I was shocked – I just wasn’t expecting something so serious,” she said.
“My husband Phil was working away so my daughter-in-law had come to collect me and was there when I got the results.
“She was very upset and I allowed myself a little cry before ‘the head kicked-in’ and I knew that I needed to be positive and deal with it!”
Debbie then met with Spire Little Aston Colorectal Surgeon Mr Haney Youssef, who said he was confident the tumour could be completely removed by surgery.
He explained: “The fact that we caught the cancer in its early stages meant we could remove it completely and thus avoid having to use chemotherapy after surgery.
“This was obviously better for Debbie in so many ways and also meant her recovery was quicker and much more comfortable than it could have been if the tumour had been allowed to develop further.”
As for Debbie, she said: “My family all pulled together and looked after me brilliantly. I was quite frail at the beginning and had some pain - but one day I woke and it had gone!
“I have rested but it's also important to be active so I was up and about as much as I could be and now I’m back to playing with my lovely two-year-old grandson Quinn and things just couldn’t be better.
“Now I am urging other people not to suffer in silence. If you think something is wrong go and see your GP. It may be nothing serious, but it is better to be safe than sorry – and it could save your life.”