I planned my own funeral after ignoring deadly signs

A mother spent two weeks planning her own funeral after ignoring signs of colon cancer.

Tasha Thor-Straten, 49, wiped away the blood in her stool as a symptom of “work or parental stress”.

Tasha Thor-Straten, 49, has spent two weeks planning her own funeral after ignoring signs of colon cancer

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Tasha Thor-Straten, 49, has spent two weeks planning her own funeral after ignoring signs of colon cancerCredit: PA Real Life
She wiped the blood in her stool as a symptom of

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She wiped the blood in her stool as a symptom of “work or parental stress.”Credit: PA Real Life

But when the blood went too much to blank, Tasha reluctantly went to see the GP – who referred her for a colonoscopy.

Two weeks later, the mother, from Rochford, Essex, was told she had end-stage colon cancer which had spread to her lungs.

Devastated, Tasha returned home and began planning her funeral until test results offered a window of hope a year later.

The mother was treated for stage 3 cancer after the lung nodules doctors discovered were benign.

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She received four chemor rounds – during which Tasha asked Dame Deborah James for support.

The Sun’s preeminent columnist Dame Deborah, known online as Bowel Babe, was awarded a damehood this month for her “tireless campaign” to raise awareness of colon cancer.

Speaking of her own battle with cancer, Tasha said: “I can’t describe the feeling when someone tells you you have a terminal illness.

“I was only 44, with young children and a new relationship, and suddenly the rug was pulled out from under me.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to be here today, which is why I now work as a life coach, helping other cancer patients understand how their diet can improve their health during treatment.”

Tasha – who moved in with her new partner Russ shortly before her diagnosis – shared how she ignored the signs of colon cancer.

She added: “I ignored the blood in my stool.

“I didn’t think anything of it and assumed it was just things like work or parental stress.

“I went to my GP office twice and refrained from saying anything because I was afraid of the process and what might happen next.

“Looking back at that time, there were other symptoms, like abdominal pain when exercising and lower back pain, but I attribute that to overexertion.

“It wasn’t until Christmas 2016 that the blood loss became too much and I reluctantly went to the doctor who referred 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 end-stage colon cancer that had spread to her lungs – and was offered palliative care.

“It was absolutely shocking and devastating,” Tasha added.

“It never occurred to me that my symptoms could be colon cancer. I was fit, healthy and watching my diet and there was no history of it in my family.

“To learn that it wasn’t just cancer, but that I was going to die from it was almost too much to bear.”

But things took an unexpected and very welcome turn for the better when Tasha returned to the hospital for more results in February 2017.

She said: “On further examination, although I have lung nodules, the doctors determined they were not cancerous. Just like that, I was given a window of hope.”

She was told she had stage 3 cancer and her new findings made her eligible for invasive and potentially life-saving surgery.

She said: “There was no time like the present.

It never occurred to me that my symptoms could be colon cancer. I was fit, healthy and watching my diet and there was no history of it in my family.

Tasha

“I had surgery on February 28th. They cut out the part of my bowel where the cancer was, which was about a 35mm tumor, and then they had to put my bowel back together.”

The surgery was a success, and after a few weeks of recovery, Tasha began chemotherapy.

She said: “I didn’t do well with the first few rounds of chemotherapy, so my doctors extended the time in between to give my body more time to recover.

“Nonetheless, my side effects were severe, including extreme fatigue, sadness, nerve pain, and an adverse reaction to sunlight and cold.”

During this treatment she contacted Dame Deborah James.

She said: “I saw on social media that she was struggling with sleeping because of the treatment. I went through the same thing so I messaged her.

“It was really nice to talk to someone who understood exactly what I was going through. She gave me some advice and it was a real comfort.”

In August 2017, Tasha was officially given the all-clear about cancer.

The Signs of Colon Cancer You Need to Know – Think COLON

  1. B: bleeding

There are several possible causes of bleeding from your butt or blood in your poop.

Bright red blood can come from swollen blood vessels, hemorrhoids, or hemorrhoids in your anus.

Dark red or black blood may come from your intestines or stomach.

Blood in the stool is one of the main signs of colon cancer, so it’s important to tell your doctor so he can investigate.

2. O: Obvious change in toilet habits

It’s important to let your GP know if you notice changes in your bowel habits that last three weeks or more.

It’s especially important if you’ve also noticed signs of blood in your poop.

You may find that you need to go to the bathroom more often, you may have looser stools, or you may feel like you are not walking enough or not emptying your bowels completely.

Don’t be embarrassed, your family doctor will have heard a lot worse! Speak up and have it checked.

3. W: weight loss

This is less common than the other symptoms, but it’s important to be aware of. If you have lost weight and do not know exactly why, you should tell your family doctor.

You may not feel like eating, feel sick, bloated and not hungry.

4. E: Extreme fatigue

Colon cancer that causes bleeding can cause iron deficiency in the body – anemia. If you develop anemia, you are likely to feel tired and your skin may look pale.

5. L: Lump or pain

As with many other types of cancer, lumps or pain can be a sign of colon cancer.

It is very likely that you will feel a pain or lump in your stomach or back passage.

See your GP if it doesn’t go away or if it’s affecting your diet or sleep

Tasha contacted Dame Deborah James for assistance

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Tasha contacted Dame Deborah James for assistanceCredit: Instagram/@bowelbabe
When the blood was "too much to bare"Tasha reluctantly went to the family doctor

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When the blood became too much to bare, Tasha reluctantly went to the GPCredit: PA Real Life
The mother was treated for stage 3 cancer after the lung nodules doctors discovered were benign

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The mother was treated for stage 3 cancer after the lung nodules doctors discovered were benignCredit: PA Real Life

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5434864/planned-own-funeral-ignoring-deadly-signs-bowel-cancer/ I planned my own funeral after ignoring deadly signs

Sarah Y. Kim

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