Cancer grew insideme for 15 years!
Sales manager and fitness instructor Jo Green, 36, coped with agonising stomach ache for a decade and a half, unaware that a rare form of cancer had been slowly spreading through her body
Running along the promenade, I feel the salty sea spray splash my face. It’s early morning and cold, but I don’t mind. I run half marathons and never miss my jogging sessions with my friend Kimberly Douglas. I love the freedom of being on the beach so early in the morning, before the rest of the world is up. I also love feeling so fit. Now more than ever. I know how important being healthy and fit is – in fact, it probably saved my life.
I’ve always exercised. Up to the age of 17 I was a keen gymnast and took my fitness for granted. After university, where I graduated with a degree in exercise and health science, I worked as a personal trainer. When I wasn’t taking my classes, I was at the gym six times a week, working out.
And then one day, when I was 22, I suddenly started having stomach cramps, followed by diarrhoea. I thought it was a tummy upset at first, but when it didn’t go away I went to my GP. I was never ill, and wanted to know what was wrong.
She thought I had irritable bowel syndrome, but I wasn’t convinced because I ate a healthy diet and no one food triggered my stomach upsets. The cramps came on, day or night, no matter what I had eaten, with no definite pattern to them them. Cutting out wheat made no difference, and throughout my 20s, I started the day with a lovely flat firm tummy I was proud of. By the end of it, I was so bloated, I looked about six months pregnant.
I was sent for a gastroscopy – where a camera was put down my throat to look into my stomach, but even that didn’t show any reason for me having an upset tummy every single day.
For the next five years, I was at my GP’s surgery regularly. Most of the time I could cope with the pain, but every few months, it would build up until it took my breath away. I’d shut myself in the bathroom until it eased.
The problem was I never got to see the doctor while the pains were at their worst. I tried hard to describe them to the GPs, but they said again
A dream Dubai holiday was marred by my unexplained pain
I had a 23cm incision to remove all the tumours