A Melton man battling bowel cancer says he’s been overwhelmed with the response to a Facebook blog he’s been writing, sharing his story and day-to-day highs and lows.
Sam Mayfield (23), who was diagnosed in January, initially posted a status on his Facebook to let family and friends know what was going on.
From that point he got so many comments and feedback from people saying how helpful and inspirational the information he was giving out was, it swayed him to start an online journal by creating the Facebook page My Cancer Journey by Sam Mayfield, telling people about his experiences and raising awareness of cancer in young people.
Sam, who lives on Brampton Road, has already had more than 1,000 likes on his My Cancer Journey page.
He said: “I’ve had such an overwhelming response to the blog. It’s just amazing to know that my story is reaching and inspiring so many people.
“Its prime purpose was to keep people informed of my day-to-day feelings but since it started it has boomed and now become something more to help raise awareness of cancer in young people.
“It also allows me to vent my feelings and when I see all the wonderful and positive comments, especially at night when I think about my cancer, it makes me feel much better and keeps me positive.
“The blog also helps my family to understand how I’m feeling at the end of each day.”
Sam, a former Grove, Long Field and King Edward VII pupil who used to play football for Asfordby Amateurs, has stage three bowel cancer. Stage four is terminal.
He is currently having chemotherapy morning and night and radiotherapy every day to shrink a tumour on his colon. He is set to have an operation within weeks.
He said: “We met with the surgeon two or three weeks after I was diagnosed and she was more than confident that she could get the whole lot out.
“If I have a bowel cancer gene I may have to have my whole colon removed which would mean a permanent ileostomy bag for life but there could be a case where they just chop out the small section which has the tumour in and then for a long time I would have an ileostomy bag, but not permanently hopefully, and it can be reversed.”
In his blog entry on Monday - day 53 - Sam wrote: “I really want to emphasise the importance of getting something that isn’t normal to you checked out. Unfortunately, brushing too many small things off can sometimes lead to something bad.
“My journey has been difficult for me as my symptoms mimic closely to those of gastrointestinal disease, something that runs in my family. Also it is pretty rare to get cancer at a young age.
“I was probably a person who did not think/understand the severity of the symptoms I was experiencing.
“Unfortunately I have a well developed stage three cancer which means that the tumour has spread into the muscle wall of my colon. It has also spread into my nearby lymph nodes.
“Not once, through my years of symptoms, did I think I might have bowel cancer. It really was from the day of diagnosis that I knew anything significant about it. Hence that’s why I think it’s so important to boost the awareness of cancer, especially in young people.
“The radiotherapy went really well today. I wasn’t anxious or fidgety. I am experiencing diarrhoea at the moment but that’s to be expected as it’s a side effect of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“I know I finish every day saying how amazing it is to have such a wonderful response to this page but it truly is. I feel like I can say whatever on this page and really speak about how I feel. You lovely people just keep sending me amazing support, no matter what. I feel so special and it’s such a nice feeling. I could not do it with out you. Thank you so much, I really mean it with all my heart.”
l To read the blog visit https://www.facebook.com/MyCancerJourneyBySamMayfield/
More than 41,500 men and women are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK. That is the equivalent of someone being diagnosed every 15 minutes. More than 2,000 of them are younger people, and it’s the fourth most common cancer in the UK behind breast, lung and prostate cancer.
Symptoms of bowel cancer can include bleeding from the back passage or blood in your poo, a change in normal bowel habits, unexplained weight loss and pain in your abdomen or back passage.
Thess symptoms can be caused by other conditions but if you are worried they could be caused by bowel cancer, you should see your GP.
For more information and advice visit http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/bowel-cancer/