Know The Symptoms
Peter Biddulph was a reasonably fit and healthy man in his 60’s when his world turned upside down in 2021 as he was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Peter remembers “you are going along fine with life and then you get a sudden reality check – you are mortal and the man above is watching you”. A master carpet designer, who designed carpets for the Dáil, Peter uses an apt phrase “The rug was well and truly pulled from under me”. However, Peter goes on to say “Everyone in the system is so incredibly kind and caring. I put myself in their hands and followed their treatment plan starting with a mixture of oral chemo and radiotherapy, then had more chemo via infusion, followed by surgery.”
Among the various supports Peter availed of was the offer of accommodation at Inis Aoibhinn, Cancer Care West’s lodge at University Hospital Galway (UHG). Peter stayed at the lodge while undergoing daily radiotherapy. “It was a fantastic place to be able to come to each week. The nurses and carers were beyond kind. Then when I had my operation in UHG, I could see Inis Aoibhinn from the hospital window, where my journey all began. Almost like a full circle. Waking from my surgery was most strange, no pain whatsoever, as I had been expecting some, the epidural certainly worked. Tubes and pipes everywhere, five in total, and a strange bag attached to me, like a giant Tick. Just as in Irish Aoibhinn, the care was magnificent, even if I dreaded the visits from the physiotherapist’s, who it seemed delighted in dragging me out of bed for walking and exercise. Now I feel I’m really getting there. Still a little tired but getting better every day. Best of all, I got the All Clear, from the surgeon, so I am currently Cancer Free!”
When Peter first noticed some digestive problems, he put it down to a new diet to help with his diabetes, but as the symptoms grew he realised that all was not normal and immediately went to his GP. His prompt action was an important factor in his positive outcome. In this month of bowel cancer awareness Peter urges everyone to be aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer and if you have any concerns don’t hesitate to go to your GP.
Peter Biddulph with his chemo wig!