She suffered stomach pains for three years before doctors finally diagnosed bowel cancer. Now Carol Lupton is on the way to recovery.

“I began getting stomach pains three years ago but I had none of the other symptoms of bowel cancer so no one knew what was wrong with me. Over the space of a year I had a lot of tests but they all came back ‘normal’. I was told I had diverticulitis and a hiatus hernia.

“But things just got worse. It was so bad that I had to give up my job at a petrol station in Morecambe.

I could only eat ice cream, yogurt, jelly and Oxo cubes and lost more than three stone in three months. I was sleeping for 20 hours out of the 24.

Our son got married in Thailand in May 2015 and that was difficult because I couldn’t eat.

Carol Lupton bowel cancer

“I begged the doctor for help to relieve the pain because I couldn’t stand up – I had to walk doubled over and sleep curled up in the foetal position.

“Finally, a new doctor said my symptoms had been going on too long and referred me to hospital.

Carol's bowel cancer diagnosis

After a CT scan, they tried carrying out a colonoscopy and that’s when it all kicked off.

“They couldn’t get the camera through to the upper bowel. A surgeon came to see me and said there was some kind of blockage and, in her experience, it could be cancerous. She proposed an emergency operation.

“The next day – it was two weeks before Christmas – I had my bowel removed and woke up with a stoma. It’s just as well I didn’t have time to think about it.

“I started chemotherapy in February 2016 and finished six months later. I got sepsis in March because of the PICC line used to administer the chemo and spent a week in hospital with loads of antibiotics. For the second half of my treatment I was taking tablets for the chemo treatment.

“I’m still sore due to the large cut down my front and the stoma and tend to be a bit wobbly on my feet.

But I feel better than I have done for years, even though I’ve had to get used to the stoma, hair loss, neuropathy, tiredness and all the other things associated with chemo.

“The surgeon says my stoma is permanent but I’m just glad to still be here. I can look forward to visiting our son and his bride in Dubai where they live – and I’ll be free of pain.”