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"You're told you have bowel cancer and you just kind of go into a daze at that point"

Andrew Jones was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013. He fought hard to beat it.

IN LATE 2012, Andrew Jones started to experience abdominal pain.

A 34-year-old wealth management consultant from Blackrock in Dublin, Andrew put his pain down to too much coffee and a busy lifestyle.

He went to the doctor in early 2013 and was put on medication for suspected gastritis. When the problem didn’t go away, Andrew went back to doctor.

Further tests showed that he had an infection in his stomach. A scan of the infected area turned up some problem in the right side of the colon.

He was admitted to the hospital and given antibiotics for the infection. After receiving a colonoscopy and having biopsies two weeks later, Andrew went back to the hospital to get his results.

“I just went in to see my consultant thinking that I just had something minor,” says Andrew.

“The doctor looked at me said: “we’ve done the tests, you’ve had the colonoscopy and you’ve got colon cancer’.”

Andrew was diagnosed on the 25 March 2013. What would follow was a year of intense struggle and sickness as he tried to beat it.

“You’re told you have bowel cancer and you just kind of go into a daze at that point,” says Andrew.

“I literally left there not remembering very much of the conversation and headed to my mother’s office to have a very difficult conversation with her.
She’d had cancer the previous year and had had radiotherapy so that was a very difficult thing to do.

Daffodil Day

Today is Daffodil Day – the Irish Cancer Society’s longest running fundraising day. All around the country, thousands of volunteers will take to the streets to raise funds for people living with cancer.

12832376_10153714860963876_3288839085141316175_n Source: Irish Cancer Society

One in three people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime and an average of 30,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. There are few, if any, whose lives haven’t been affected by the illness in some way.

For Andrew, his diagnosis came after his mother had already been diagnosed with the disease. He had surgery to try and remove the tumour in April, 2013.

“They basically took about two feet of bowel out,” he says.

Andrew’s cancer was at stage three, which is quite advanced. After the surgery he required an intensive six month bout of chemotherapy.

“I was told that I’m young and fit and healthy – all the usual things… but literally anything that could go wrong – it went wrong,” says Andrew.

“Of the the six months I’d say I spent close to three in hospital. I was in intensive care and I had pneumonia and a rare blood infection.”

At one point they were saying they were going to put me in an induced coma because my lungs were shutting down.

Andrew had to go off some of the chemotherapy drugs as his body couldn’t take it anymore. However, after the six months his body responded to the treatment and the cancer went into remission.

“It’s a very difficult time emotionally and physically – you’re tested,” he says.

It’s only after when you’ve recovered that it hits you what you’ve been through.

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Andrew made a recovery and his cancer has been in remission since his treatment, but he carries the memory of his illness with him everyday.

“It’s something you don’t forget – a year of being sick you just don’t forget.”

His mother went through further bouts of cancer following Andrew’s recovery and they have both cared for each other throughout their ordeals.

IMG_7562 Andrew and his mother Source: Andrew Jones

Daffodil Day exists to raise money to support people through the illness. But it is also to raise awareness of the people who have fought the illness. People like Andrew – who fought it and survived, and also all the people who have died from cancer and their families and friends who have suffered as a result.

“When you’re going through it you think that it’s endless and it will never end,” says Andrew

“But life does go on… it chucks some hard things at you, but you just have to move on with it when it’s done.”

People can support Daffodil Day by:

  • Buying a daffodil from one of our volunteers in your community
  • Donating online – www.cancer.ie
  • Donating over the phone – CallSave 1850 60 60 60
  • Texting Daff to 50300 to donate €4*

Read: Scientists have discovered cancer’s ‘Achilles heel’

Read: ‘Extraordinary’ cancer trial sees symptoms vanish in 94% of patients

About the author:

Cormac Fitzgerald

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