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Young woman given just three years to live after receiving devastating diagnosis

Young woman given just three years to live after receiving devastating diagnosis

She said the diagnosis came ‘so out of the blue’ as her world came crashing around her

A young woman is determined to ‘defy all odds’ after being given just three years to live, urging others to look out for the warning signs.

Samantha Bulloch, 29, said her devastating diagnosis came ‘so out of the blue’ as her world came crashing down around her.

“I thought about my life and all the things I wanted to experience — like getting married and having a family... I felt like they were just completely ripped away from me,” she told 7News. “I assumed I was fit and healthy because I felt like I was.”

Samantha Bulloch.

The children’s library assistant noticed the first warning sign when she spotted blood in her stools four years ago.

However, after it ‘ended up resolving on its own’, she brushed it off, believing it was just haemorrhoids.

Fast forward to early 2023, and Bulloch started feeling incredibly tired with ‘next level fatigue’.

“I was at work one day, just standing up and around, having a meeting, and I had to sit down because I was so fatigued,” she recalled, saying it was ‘quite out of the normal’.

She also noticed a sudden change in her bowel movements and, with a history of low iron levels, finally decided to go get a blood test to check everything was okay.

“It turned out I was anaemic, but they also noticed my liver enzymes were about three times outside of the normal range and that raised some suspicions,” Bulloch continued.

She was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer.

It was then that she was told she had stage four bowel cancer, with an ultrasound and CT scan finding a primary tumour in her colon, which had metastasised to her liver and right lung.

Bulloch went through six cycles of chemotherapy, and started taking an immunotherapy drug.

“I had a few follow up scans at that point and the cancer was responding well and had shrunk by more than 50 percent,” she said.

“Sadly I’m not eligible for surgery at this stage because of how extensive the disease is.”

Bulloch has been sharing her journey online.

She added: “Originally when I was diagnosed, my doctor gave me a year (to live) if treatment didn’t work.

“Thankfully my treatment has been working, so she’d put me in the three-year category at the moment.”

Bulloch said she is fighting for her ‘will to live despite the dismal statistics’, but that she wants to focus on the fact that ‘some people do survive’.

She is now speaking out about her experience to get others to know the symptoms, which include blood in your stools or on toilet paper, a pain or lump in your abdomen, unexplained fatigue or weight loss, and a change in bowel habits.

“If I had felt more comfortable talking about my bowel habits a few years ago, I’d be in a much better position now,” Bulloch says.

She now wants to 'help break the stigma' around talking about bowel cancer symptoms.

“I want to help break the stigma. Too many colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed at stage four because we don’t think it’s possible for us to get it, and we feel awkward talking about poo.

“Creating open dialogue around this topic will hopefully mean others feel more comfortable speaking out and checking things out if something feels off.”

If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@samindigo

Topics: Health