I was given the bad news in 2014, one week after my 60th birthday. I had already been losing weight and was passing blood, but I felt ok and had promised my son and daughter I would see my GP after my birthday.

On a Wednesday, I presented myself to the Noarlunga Hospital. They did some tests and found a lump in my rectum. Within 3 hours I was taken to Flinders Hospital where they gave me 4 units of blood. The next day I had a CT scan followed by a colonoscopy where a 10.5cm tumor was found. Then I went through all the other scans and tests.

I was given a chemo bottle that had to be worn for 24 hours a day for 13 weeks. As well as radiation to hopefully shrink the tumor so that an operation would be possible. The treatment was successful, the tumor shrunk, I started putting weight back on (from 57kgs to 95kgs) and the 12 hour operation went well. I had a urostomy and colostomy formed.

The treatment was successful, the tumor shrunk, I started putting weight back on

I now have both waste motions from one stoma into one bag. I am fortunate that my last visit with my surgeon was so good that he thinks I am getting better.

Apart from a hernia now, I am handling my stoma quite well. I use a 2-piece system, with a Hollister base and bag throughout the day and at night a high output bag and drainage system. I find the new bases help in easing skin problems.


For Tania, deciding to have an ileostomy has allowed her to return to doing the things she loves best.


Emily is thankful for her surgeon and her stoma because she is alive.


Heather has been living with a colostomy and ileostomy since 2017.


One week after Grant's 60th birthday he was diagnosed with cancer.