A woman diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer became cancer free in a miraculous turn of events. The stage 4 cancer spread to her ovaries and liver, and doctors gave her three months to live in January 2020. Now, she’s in remission and feels grateful for a second chance at life.
Caroline Guy spent years battling health problems before being diagnosed with cancer. The 56-year-old decided to make an appointment with a doctor in June 2019 to discuss her symptoms.
“I felt sluggish, I just didn’t feel right. My stomach was swollen,” she told Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Unfortunately, her doctor in Spain brushed her symptoms aside, citing menopause as the cause. “I’d googled my symptoms, and I actually asked him outright if I had bowel cancer, and he said no,” Guy revealed.
When she visited her husband Adam in Saudi Arabia in January 2020, her health only worsened.
“I was in pain walking, I looked seven months pregnant, and I woke up one night and was violently sick. I just felt horrendous,” Guy recalled.
Adam and their youngest daughter Gabrielle rushed her to the hospital, where she underwent a battery of tests and X-rays. Doctors told them the devastating news that she had only 3-4 months to live.
“When I saw their faces, I thought this is not good. My daughter couldn’t look at me. I couldn’t take it in. I just said, ‘How long have I had it? And ‘am I going to die?'” she recalled.
Her family couldn’t bare to tell her the truth at the time. They could barely handle it themselves, after all.
“He was still picking our daughter up off the floor—they had to give her oxygen. I can laugh now, but it must’ve been like something from a ‘Carry On’ film,” she said.
Becoming Cancer-Free Would Be A Long Journey
At the end of January, doctors referred her to the head of oncology, who reassured her a bit. The doctors advised her to stay positive and avoid googling her symptoms. They couldn’t operate on her, so they gave her a course of chemotherapy and a targeted cancer drug, Cituximae.
At that time, COVID-19 had begun spreading around the globe, and Caroline desperately wanted to see her family. So, she traveled back to Nottingham, England, to visit her other daughter Hollie but immediately caught the virus. She self-quarantined for a couple of weeks until she felt safe to venture outside again.
“It was scary, the thought of coming back to England, worrying would I still get my treatment because I’d done so well in Saudi, but I had to come back. I had to see my family,” Guy shared.
After her bout with the virus, Guy resumed chemotherapy at Nottingham City Hospital. There, X-rays showed the tumor had decreased in size. However, doctors still gave her a grim prognosis of having only two years to live. Caroline couldn’t accept defeat and felt determined to become cancer free, though.
“I was heartbroken, I didn’t want to hear a timescale, I was doing really well, I continued with the fortnightly chemotherapy and Cituximae. I had a pump fitted, and I’d go away and have chemotherapy for 48 hours at home,” she said.
While the pandemic tore through England, Guy still made it to all her appointments. She told the NHS Trust that COVID-19 made it challenging to receive treatments but not impossible. Caroline never gave up hope about being cancer-free, and staff members worked their hardest to cure her. Nurses stayed hours after their shift ended to attend to Caroline as she received treatment.
Shortly after, new scans showed that the chemotherapy shrunk the tumors enough for doctors to perform surgery. It still posed a risk, but Caroline wanted to exhaust all possibilities to become cancer free.
She Remained Positive in the Fight Against Cancer
“I said yes, please. The only way you can beat bowel cancer is with surgery to remove the primary cause. I knew that if I did that, the cancer might come back, but if it did come back, I would deal with it,” Guy said.
Doctors then transferred her to Queen’s Medical Centre, where surgeons removed a portion of her bowel. They also performed a complete hysterectomy to give her the best chance of being cancer-free.
“The first person I saw when I woke up was the surgeon who said it had been a really successful operation. He rang my husband himself and spoke to him,” Guy recalled.
Doctors performed a few other tests and sent her home to recover. When she received the test results, she couldn’t believe it. Caroline was finally cancer free!
“Mum with bowel cancer and given three months to live rings cancer free bell at Nottingham hospital” – thank you for covering this big moment and for helping us to share Caroline’s story @ITVCentral @nancycoleITV https://t.co/2OEzBwpANV
— Nottingham University Hospitals (@nottmhospitals) June 20, 2022
The treatment didn’t come cheap, costing nearly $140,000 altogether. It exhausted her husband’s retirement fund since she didn’t have insurance. However, you can’t put a price on life.
Caroline said she felt grateful for the private care she received in Saudi Arabia. However, she expressed that it didn’t compare to the treatment from doctors at the NHS.
“I’ve been treated with so much compassion. I’m in awe of these people, and the colorectal nurse Kimberley was fantastic. For the surgeons to say, ‘we’ve got it all, you’re cancer free’—how can I thank them? How can I thank the NHS? Some of the staff are like family, and they have all been wonderful,” Guy added.
Thankfully, she’s cancer free and sees her oncologist for checkups every three months. Her doctors and surgeons undoubtedly played a considerable role in her recovery. However, her surgeon Dr. Alastair Simpson attributed her success primarily to her positive outlook, bravery, and determination.
Final Thoughts on Woman Who Beat Stage Four Bowel Cancer and Is Now Cancer Free
Being told you have terminal cancer can instantly shatter your hopes for the future. However, when doctors told Caroline Guy she had stage four bowel cancer, she wouldn’t accept defeat. She knew that with a positive attitude and proper care, she could become cancer free.
After years of battling cancer, she finally achieved remission, thanks to her dedicated team of surgeons and a fierce will to live. Hopefully, this inspiring story provides hope and courage for anyone fighting cancer.