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Mum thought she was lactose intolerant for years

Apr 22, 2023Apr 22, 2023

Mum-of-one Lindsey Jayn Piette, 41, from Ontario in Canada, was diagnosed with aggressive colon cancer two years ago but first thought the bloating was a result of lactose intolerance and stress

A mum diagnosed with aggressive colon cancer has revealed she first thought her symptoms of bloating were due to lactose intolerance and stress.

Lindsey Jayn Piette, 41, from Ontario, Canada, was just 39 when she was handed the shocking diagnosis - which spurred the start of a year-long battle enduring exhausting treatments and mental health struggles.

The mum, who has a nine-year-old daughter, has been experiencing constipation, irregular bowel movements and "uncomfortable bloating" for seven years before discovering the reason.

Brushing it off, the cancer was only caught by chance, after a doctor advised doing a colonoscopy due to a family history following an abnormal pap smear result.

Lindsey was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer after doctors found a 5cm growth in her abdomen.

"I spent years thinking I had food sensitivities," she said.

"I thought I was lactose intolerant or allergic to gluten, but could never put my finger on the cause of it.

"It's hard to explain, but hearing they found the tumour, almost pushed me back outside of myself and outside of my life.

"Suddenly all of my everyday stresses and worries became so small.

"It scared me mostly that I could possibly be leaving my 9-year-old daughter without a mother.

"When I heard I needed chemotherapy, I collapsed in my living room in tears. Then I picked myself up and went into warrior mode."

After being hit with the news, the mum found herself forced away from any outside support due to suffering from a low immune system and Covid restrictions, which meant she couldn't use help from loved ones.

She said: "I had very minimal help, sometimes people would drop off care packages and send cards, but physically I was on my own to care for myself.

"You always think it would be like you see on TV if you get cancer - friends and family would gather around you and come by to have tea and chat.

"I was very alone, which was extremely hard, but I also think not being able to just lay down and feel sorry for myself had a huge part in my outcome.

"My family was very sad and worried about me though, and my daughter didn't really show much emotion at the time, but she currently struggles with anxiety and separation anxiety."

Despite battling chemotherapy and radiation treatments alone, Lindsey's doctors found they were a success and in January 2022, she celebrated scans that showed the tumour was gone.

However, feeling anxious about the possibility of cancer returning, she changed her diet to improve her overall health and discovered that immersing herself in nature soothed many of her concerns.

She said: "I've just celebrated one year since being told the tumour is gone.

"I found love and moved out to the country with my boyfriend and I've adapted my diet to not include red meat or processed meats. "I eat lots of veggies and plan on building a greenhouse this year.

"Mentally, it's been hard dealing with anxiety around cancer returning, so I've started doing hot cold therapy with ice baths and just feeling through my emotions.

"I've gained such an appreciation for life and now I'm a huge sap and cry at the smallest things.

"Sometimes, it just hits me while driving or watching the sunset that, 'Wow, I get another chance at life'."

Although Lindsey is cautiously enjoying a cancer-free life in remission, she's now focused on sharing her story in the hope that someone else might take their symptoms seriously, sooner.

And wants others to know that colonoscopies aren't as scary as most assume.

She added: "Colonoscopies are scary and not pleasant, so a lot of people put them off or don't do them at all.

"I would love to inspire people to slow down and listen to their bodies and then ask for help if they need it and investigate their health concerns.

"I spent years prior to my diagnosis doing a lot of self-work and reading books on mindset, being present and grateful.

"I fully believe my positive mindset and being able to just be in the moment helped me through this.

"Just focusing on one thing at a time instead of the whole journey really helped me.

"Even though this horrible thing was happening in my life it didn't mean my whole life was horrible.

"I refused to believe I was going to die, this was just another hurdle."

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