Chris Wright, from Banbridge, shares his experience of bowel cancer.
During the course of 2007, I noticed differences when I went to the toilet – I was passing blood. But I endured it because I thought it would go away, like most men.
I went to work in Liverpool for a week, towards the end of October 2007, and for that week staying in hotels, witnessing the symptoms every time I went back to the hotel room, it scared me quite a bit.
I decided then that when I got home, I would see my GP and I am glad I did because he referred me to a consultant and I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
It was in December 2007 when I was diagnosed, it was just before Christmas and not just that, it was two days before my 52nd birthday – so a nice birthday and a nice Christmas present!
The following day, I phoned a friend who I knew had had a similar condition some years earlier.
And he gave me some very good advice and that was to look forward, beyond the treatment and beyond the surgery, to a date in life that was significant to me and I should focus on that and look forward to enjoying it.
I think a lot of people, a lot of men in particular, are put off from going to get diagnosed for a problem they may have because of their fear of the treatment.
Chris said as his career progressed in the Royal Mail, he didn’t pursue a lot of his other interests, such as music and writing. I went back to work after my treatment for a few years and then I took early retirement about three and half years ago.
And I have taken up a lot of things again - my music, going to classes at Queen’s University for creative writing, wherever that may take me. And going to live gigs again… I am all over the country going to live gigs… I just love my music again.
It has given me a whole new lease of life and all because of that early diagnosis.
For all you men out there, if you have the symptoms - go and talk to your doctor.