Background

This page is purely for those who don’t really know the details on what has happened in my life in the last few months. For those that do, this will sound like a broken record, as it is for me telling it :-)

In November 2008, 0ne week before my wife Hannah and I were due to fly overseas for 7 weeks of travel, and 8 weeks of hospital work in Zambia, I became ill with stomach cramps. After about 3 days of symptoms, in the absence of some bowel characteristics, and the addition of new characteristics, namely vomiting, it was pretty clear there was an obstructive picture beginning to emerge. So, we went to the hospital on a Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning and got to experience first hand the beautiful machine that is the public health system of NZ. Initial abdominal x-rays were inconclusive, showing fecal loading, but nothing to indicate an obstruction, so the running diagnosis was maybe an atypical appendicitis, and I got to experience ‘conservative management’.  Two days later, still in hospital, and symptoms were yet to subside. In fact, due to the judgment of an ill informed Dr, I was given oral fleet. This stuff, if you don’t, know is the grand daddy lube of the gastrointestinal system. If there is something there, it will clear it out, and clear it out fast….. however, in the case of an obstruction…..

Needless to say, I had an abdomen like a beach ball from distention, and vomit, vomit, vomit it all back up, with some bile for good measure was pretty much the end result. At this point they were giving me IV fentanyl to control the pain. I was then re-x-rayed, which showed large dilated loops of small bowel on the supine, and air/fluid levels on the erect – classic bowel obstruction. The saying “Don’t let the sun go down on a bowel obstruction” was applied, and 2 hrs later I was in theatre, still under the premise that this must be a way atypical appendicitis.

Three hours later I woke to the news that half my colon had been removed – a right sided hemicolectomy, and that the obstruction was due to a tumour. The next few days involved a slow recovery in the hospital, and i got the histology results back the day before my birthday, day 6 post op, indicating that had an Adenocarcinoma T3, N2, M1. Almost as bad as it gets. Surgically, they couldn’t find any mets, but this obviously does not exclude microscopic mets.

So now, my final year of medicine is deferred, and I am beginning the process of 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 3 weeks per round, 24 weeks total.

Hopefully, in a years time, we get to repeat the plans we initially had, and get to Zambia, and return the favour of a hemicolectomy to someone else :-).

  1. Suzanne
    January 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm | #1

    Hey! Thanks for the blog – and good luck with the guitar/french. Might i suggest origami? I made this awesome little box, and then i smashed it in my bag, so i had to make another. Wonderful! I was an expert by the end of it.
    Im thinking of you and praying for you too when i remember. :) -Suz

    • Jared
      January 29, 2009 at 10:34 pm | #2

      I’ll consider the origami… i’m not entirely sure the guitar/french will work that well, its the kinda thing that sounds good in theory, but might not work quite so well in practice!!!! but then 6 months of nothing is a loooooong time. :-)

  2. December 30, 2009 at 5:52 pm | #3

    Hi Jared and Hannah, just finished listening to the interview on Radio Rhema! Very touching!

    Watched a Christian Healing programme on the Prime channel on a Sunday morning!

    In case you are not aware of this Healing Ministry, I
    would like to leave you their two websites.

    http://www.enter the healingschool.org
    http://www.christembassey-ism.org

    My thoughts are with you both!

    Hope this message finds you well?

    Regards,

    Bert

  3. Carie Mac
    December 30, 2009 at 9:26 pm | #4

    Hi Jared,

    I have just listened to your interview on Rhema and was so inspired by your faith and willingness to submit to God in all things. Your grace, peace and love of God in the midst of hardship is amazing.

    I also thought that your answers to some of the tough questions they asked like; ‘why do some people not receive healing even though they have faith’ were God inspired and full of wisdom. So, be encouraged God is definately touching others through your life!!

    There’s a Bible verse in Daniel (3:17) that reminded me of your faith and I wanted to share it.

    (summarised) 3 guys are about to be thrown into the fire by a powerful King, and they say to the King that if he throws them into the fire, they know that God can save them. Then they add, BUT even if God does not save them they will not turn from Him.

    To stand in that place and know that God can heal, but also know that He may not, but love Him still is incredibly strong and a credit to your faith. I pray that your prayers will be answered.

    Prayers and God’s richest blessings to you and Hannah.
    Caroline

  4. rachel
    March 8, 2010 at 7:51 pm | #5

    Hi Jared,

    you are aninspiration to me. I am suffering from chronic discomfort from a year. I am depressed , praying God for healing.After listening to your story, I was broken.
    I hope in God that you will get through this victoriously.

    Love Hannah and you

  5. Carl
    January 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm | #6

    Jared, did your parents go to Carey Baptist College in the
    90′s? Your name is vaguely familar…

    • Jared
      January 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm | #7

      Yep….

  6. E-j Uren
    June 10, 2011 at 12:17 am | #8

    Hi Jared,
    I had the priviledge of watching the doco on 20/20 tonight… andhave just been cruising through some of your other blogs you’ve put up… It just got me thinking, isn’t God a funny fellow? Life can be a bit like a pile of shit sometimes(pardon the punn… I have a rather dark sense of humour.. har har har? sorry I don’t know if I’m allowed to pull a line like that on here?) but God really turns things around to serve others and bring glory to him not matter what the circumstances may be!

    It was weird, you know I think just by looking at you on the tele I knew you were a brother, you have that “godly glow” about you, you know when you see somebody who’s just filled with the holy spirit (could be that vision mixer is just so gosh darn good as his/her job lol) but I think you know what I mean…

    Anyhoo, I guess the reason why I came on here is just to say humble howdy, and a huge thankyou for sharing your story…

    I’m studying to become a nurse (yea you’re a doctor, but don’t you be thinking you can boss me around! lol) and have been caring for some folks who are very very sick as part of my placement, and it just seems so unfair… and I’m sure you’ve asked this question a bizillion times “Where is God in all of this?”

    Sometimes life just throws so many punches and sometimes I just wanna throw one back! (not just for me but on behalf of others too!) I had a bit of a facebook rant to my dear pen-pal over in the USA and I kinda wanted to share her response with you… I hope you find it somewhat inspiring, maybe you already know this stuff but I just had to share…

    “I used to think “I can’t wait to see God so I can ask Him x, y, z.” Now I think when I see Him the questions will disappear and everything will click into some great big spiritual aha. I get homesick for heaven sometimes just thinking about that for my sense of justice will finally be appeased and my need for understanding will finally be answered. Until then I grieve and rant and arm wrestle with God and pray that He give me the ability to trust Him in situations that don’t make sense. Afterall, it’s easy to trust Him when it makes sense.”

    Bro you have an amazing gift for others and you have truly inspired me!

    I’ve just realised that this post is looking more and more like a novel and it’s getting rather late… so I shall have to leave this post here….

    Be totally blessed

    And remember beauty is only skin deep, after all who needs a good looking pancreas?(just had to throw that in there, something to share with your patients maybe) :P

    Aroha Nui to you and your beautiful wife…
    *E-J*

  7. Colleen Tilney
    September 11, 2011 at 4:26 am | #9

    I love your website.. i had a right hemi colectomy in July with 40cms of my small intestine removed. Of 27 lymph nodes removed one was a little icky so I am now having Folfox6 fortnightly for 12 treatments. The cancer was large cell carcinoma apparently not normally found in the bowel. I am hoping that they are correct in saying my chemo is more of a preventative issue. I wonder is colon chemo is still ok when the cancer is not the norm for the bowel. I am hopi ng the onco;ogist knows best.. My symptoms were very close to yours and our hospital history pre op is very similar. I had a ct scan on 2 .2.11 and was told there was nothing there. Ultra sound where hepatic flexure thickening was noted in April May .Colonoscopy 1st week of june and asked by surgeon why I hadnt told him i was constipated. Well… I wasnt then … also gastroscopy same time and found stomach and oaesphagus ?spelling ulcers. i was told to take nexium see him again in 3 weeks and would feel a new woman at that time. also had pico prep and an enema and evacuated nothing still performed colonoscopy. 3 weeks later in hospital after not using my bowels for 2 1/2 weeks.i was in hospital for a week before they decided I had a mass in small intestine. Also a question of appendix adhesions after my appendix being removed 42 yrs ago at age 15 .. the night before my surgery they looked at scan and could see the mass present then in Feb. i do understand that in retrospect it is easy to see something but still wonder cos I lost 4 months. Any way I hope to come back to this site and find you on top of everything, Praying for you and hoping you may finally be on your holiday

  8. September 21, 2011 at 12:07 pm | #10

    I love your website.. i had a right hemi colectomy in July with 40cms of my small intestine removed. Of 27 lymph nodes removed one was a little icky so I am now having Folfox6 fortnightly for 12 treatments. The cancer was large cell carcinoma apparently not normally found in the bowel. I am hoping that they are correct in saying my chemo is more of a preventative issue. I wonder is colon chemo is still ok when the cancer is not the norm for the bowel. I am hopi ng the onco;ogist knows best.. My symptoms were very close to yours and our hospital history pre op is very similar. I had a ct scan on 2 .2.11 and was told there was nothing there. Ultra sound where hepatic flexure thickening was noted in April May .Colonoscopy 1st week of june and asked by surgeon why I hadnt told him i was constipated. Well… I wasnt then … also gastroscopy same time and found stomach and oaesphagus ?spelling ulcers. i was told to take nexium see him again in 3 weeks and would feel a new woman at that time. also had pico prep and an enema and evacuated nothing still performed colonoscopy. 3 weeks later in hospital after not using my bowels for 2 1/2 weeks.i was in hospital for a week before they decided I had a mass in small intestine. Also a question of appendix adhesions after my appendix being removed 42 yrs ago at age 15 .. the night before my surgery they looked at scan and could see the mass present then in Feb. i do understand that in retrospect it is easy to see something but still wonder cos I lost 4 months. Any way I hope to come back to this site and find you on top of everything, Praying for you and hoping you may finally be on your holiday
    +1

  9. Lyn Small
    February 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm | #11

    Came across your blog this morning (Sunday) …. really hope that you’re doing well after your op on 14 Feb. Have a sense of the the anxiety you surely both felt before the surgery. You’re blessed to have Hannah’s love and she your … my belief is that you chose each other and this experience in a time and place before it all happened. Anway, my son Keagan aged 24 was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma of the left iliac blade in Jan 2009, he did 14 cycles of chemo that year, ending in Feb 2010 and had the entire iliac blade removed in May 2009. He did really well and swam the Midmar Mile (KZN, SA) in Feb 2010 in a time of 25 mins! In Sept 2011 a recurrence in the left sacrum was diagnosed and he started 12 cycles of chemo in Oct 2011. On 3 Feb 2012 they removed 4cm x 4cm piece of sacral bone which contained the bulk of regrowth. They are going to do targetted radiation of the remaining tumour. There have been no metastises in this time.
    On Tuesday this week, he starts with the balance of 8 cycles of chemo, combined with 5 weeks of radiation starting the following week. He, like you, is an inspiration in terms of his courage and grit and he too is greatly loved and supported. He does what he can in terms of eating really well and the value of juicing and smoothies can’t be downplayed. This tough journey generally keep us in the moment, focussed on blessings and small miracles which happen along the way. But unless you or someone you love has or is going through it, you cannot ‘get’ what a rollercoaster ride it is. I wish you and Hannah continued strength and courage Jared …. I’ll keep you in my prayers. God bless you both. Lyn Small, Pietermaritzburg, SA.
    ps. just to mention that Keagan contracted bacterial meningitis at age 1, and was left profoundly deaf. So his life has had many challenges, yet he’s lived it fully and with courage, excelling at swimming and being the first person at the printing company he works for, to formally qualify in his trade – you guys are cut from quality cloth, and are easy to love !!

  10. Melina
    June 29, 2013 at 8:55 am | #12

    Hi Jared, I got your blog from a friend in the medical profession last year. A friend of mine was recently (last year) diagnosed with Bowel cancer, she was all of 23. I didn’t give her the blog details until later as there was just so much for her to process. It is not quite a year yet since she was diagnosed, but just last week she has started writing her own blog and I thought you may like to read it also. She was given 2 years max and is really struggling to find any people her age that are going through the same things she is. (like a support group in Brisbane) Take care. Melina
    http://amykeaney.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/my-first-blog/

    • Jared
      June 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm | #13

      Hi Melina,

      Thanks for passing on Amy’s blog. I’m saddened to hear of her diagnosis. I shall be reading and commenting on her blog.

      Regards.

  11. Kate
    February 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm | #14

    Hi Jared, I saw this for the first time this week and heard your story for the first time on 20/20 tonight. You’ve probably seen it (copied off facebook just now) but if not it might be a way to say what you want to say to Elise ….?
    All the best, Kate
    “When your kids are born, reserve them an email address.Over the years, send them photos, notes, kid-isms, stories, photocopies of their achievements etc. On their 18th birthday, give them the password”.

  12. Tracey Eising
    February 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm | #15

    Hi Jared .. I was truly inspired by your story the other week on 20/20. I have late stage breast cancer. Four years ago the doctors gave me the news and like you Jared my liver was riddled with cancer and also bones and lung. At the time the doc’s said I’d have 6 -12 mths to live .. but like you, I refuse to go away (you can’t kill weed’s my friends lovingly tell me .. I’m happy to be a ‘weed’ under the circumstances) and I’m still here four years on. I understood you when you said about your little baby girl giving you the inspiration to keep going and choosing to go through the treatment you have to have and I think it’s awesome that you’ve had so much help from the public .. yes I can imagine how humbling it must feel and like you said ‘a simple thank you doesn’t feel like it’s enough’ But it is .. You are giving back bro. You are here to enjoy and look after your family and you are here to encourage and inspire those of us who are fighting this hideous disease and you are educating people who have no understanding of what it’s like to live day to day with cancer. As I was listening to you I could relate to everything you said .. you encouraged me Jared and you reminded me that I am not superwoman and that it’s ok to not try to be. Sometimes people forget I’m sick because I look so well and I have a good attitude but sometimes their expectations of me are unattainable because I just don’t have the energy, It makes me feel ashamed and frustrated that I can’t live how I used too .. I am learning to adjust to the ‘new me’ since cancer has been trying to take me out. I do my best and I solder on .. Just like you :) Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so happy to hear of the new arrival of your little baby girl. You have a lovely family .. Till next time mate .. Tracey

  13. Dee Karena
    April 8, 2014 at 1:45 pm | #16

    Hi Jared. Just popping in to say hi and hope you’re having a great week. :)

  1. January 4, 2011 at 5:31 pm | #1

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