Distressed mum Googled symptoms before receiving devastating news

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A mother said she tried to Google her symptoms before doctors told her the devastating news that she had bowel cancer.

Michelle Grant, from Runcorn, feared something was wrong after collapsing at work. She believed she might have a brain tumour after having the sudden seizure, but test results came back all clear.

A few months later, in 2020, the mum-of-one had another seizure and doctors put her on medication which she said gave her constipation.

The now 44-year-old said she rang her doctors numerous times but was told this was a side effect of the medication and she was given laxatives.

It was then Michelle started to get other symptoms such as bloody mucus. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, she said: “I then started getting this smell in my hands and in my poo and it didn’t feel normal. They just kept putting it down to my medication.”

One day, as she walked home from work, Michelle had no control of her bowel movement and soiled herself. The 44-year-old said she “knew that was something not normal” and rang her GP to ask for a face to face appointment. Michelle was referred for further tests before the results of a colonoscopy revealed she had stage two bowel cancer.

She said: “The consultant was baffled that it hadn’t shown in my iron because bowel cancer usually shows in your iron in your bloods, but it hadn’t come up. So he said he thought it was [caught] early.”

Michelle added: “I was lucky really but I think if I hadn’t of pushed it and pushed it I wouldn’t have gotten it so early. I wanted to show people that if your body doesn’t feel right to [go get checked out].”

The 44-year-old said she wanted to share her story as her symptoms were unusual and “weren’t even in Google really”. Michelle was also told the tumour in her bowel was pushing against her fibroids and doctors didn’t know if the cancer had to spread to her womb and cervix.

Doctors made the decision for Michelle to have surgery to remove them and was given the option of freezing her eggs but, as her daughter was 21 at the time, Michelle said it didn’t hit her “too hard” that she would be infertile as she had her family.

Michelle’s womb, cervix, the cancerous tumour and 11 lymph nodes were removed and she was fitted with a temporary stoma. The 44-year-old lived with the stoma for a year and had this reversed in November last year.

Speaking about the stoma, she said: “You’re not in control of your bowel but I just embraced it. It’s a bit weird getting used to fitted clothes again because I was wearing baggy clothes.”

Michelle also became a nan in July 2020 and said she missed out on cuddles with her grandson as she couldn’t pick him up, but is now making up for it. The 44-year-old is now cancer free and said wants to raise awareness of bowel cancer.

She said: “I recently have just had my two year CT scans and they have come back clear. It’s been a whirlwind. But I wanted to raise awareness because bowel cancer, if you leave it so late, is one of the biggest killers.”

Michelle also thanked her friends, daughter and mum for their help and support during her diagnosis and treatment.

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