About me

Me and Lois (daughter) and Lauren (nearly daughter) and me at Churchill Hospital after Liver Op number 2. Missing my son Joseph as photo shy!

My name is Rachel Bown (now Haynes, I slipped in a marriage inbetween all this cancer business!).  I was 45 years old when diagnosed and up until then had never really been ill.  After months of suspecting the IBS wasn’t getting any better, I returned to the doctors to be finally fast tracked for a consultation.  Like many people I have since discovered, especially those of us under 60, my bowel cancer had been mistaken by the medical profession for IBS.

Once I was diagnosed with bowel cancer on 17 August, things moved fast and I underwent a bowel resection on 24 August.  The scans and path reports confirmed the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and liver.  T4N2M1 for those who are interested in these things. 6 weeks after my bowel operation, I was back in hospital on 6 October undergoing my first liver resection to remove the affected part of my liver and my gall blader. On 9 November,  I started  many months of chemotherapy – 2 weeks on and 1 week off, and as I needed rescuing from myself and daytime TV, I figured this blog would do the job.

I have 2 amazingly resilient children aged 11 and 13 at diagnosis, and the most supportive family and friends anyone could ever wish for.  So I know I am very lucky and with support and faith, I will beat this.

NEWS UPDATE: I am in remission!

NEW UPDATE: It came back a year later in my liver in June 2013.  Miraculously had another liver resection, this time on the pointy end of the liver, also known as the left lobe. Aiming for remission again.  Never give up, never give in.

MORE UPDATES: After pre op complications, hernia ops and infections I am back in remission again.  For the second time. 6 months and counting!

MORE UPDATES:  Still in remission over 3 years and counting!  Despite naughty polyps popping up still.


FINAL UPDATE;  5 years following relapse and second liver resection, I am considered CURED.  Can you believe it?  My oncologist has told me to go and live my life and I couldn’t be more shocked or grateful.  How many people pray for a just day or even a moment that I am in danger of wasting if I don’t wise up to what I’ve been put on this wonderful earth for.  If anyone is still reading this dusty blog 7 years later, NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER GIVE IN. God bless you all x


17 thoughts on “About me

  1. Rachel, such shocking news! I will think of you every day for the next 6 months and beyond. Biggest love to you and the family. If you fancy a trip to the seaside, we’d love to see you!! Stay strong and focused xxxx

    • Sue that would be a lovely treat and I will come and see you once. I often think of how you are doing and how different your life must be now. Thanks for your message, I am coping fine thank you and over the shock now. xxxxx

  2. Hey Rachel, you are in my thoughts. I miss our philosophical lunches together and you will always be for me “the best boss ever!”. I’ll say a special one for you this week. Good luck with the key mo. x love

  3. Hi Rachel! First let me congratulate you on your fantastic website – great idea. If it wasn’t for a mutual friend, Mary Yiallouris, telling me about it, I would never have found you.
    I am 46 years old, and have two huggable teenagers, Alexia 18 (just gone off to university) and Andreas 16. I can completely understand what you are going through. I too was diagnosed with cancer (breast) in June and following three operations, ending in a mastectomy, I am now undergoing chemotherapy. I have one every three weeks for a total of six sessions. I just had my second cocktail yesterday and unfortunately am suffering from sickness/nausea. Yesterday, I joked that I should flush my dinner straight down the loo and cut out the middle man…or woman!
    I know that the journey to healing can be difficult at times, but taking one day at a time has helped in the journey. The experiences we go through now will undoubtedly change us. I am certainly appreciating the good days when they come my way and make the very most of them. I am also blessed with a supportive family and amazing friends, our mutual friend Mary being at the top of that list. Please feel free to e-mail whenever you want and stay strong and positive 🙂 xx

  4. Hi Rachel – I’m a friend of David’s. Your site is inspirational! Thanks for your honesty. Hope and pray your chemo goes well over the next few months.

  5. I heard you on the radio. Just to say that as an ex (I think I can say that after 17 years) bowel cancer patient who had surgery and chemo it is tough and life will never be quite the same again but hey who said life was easy. Watch out for the (perverse) depression after the chemo and when the doctors say the prognosis is good. Great respect for what you are doing and may your gods be with you (Dave Allen). Mark

  6. Dear Rachel

    I have just seen your profile on Twitter and read some of your amazing blogs! I run a Social Enterprise called the Cancer Survivorship Programme which offers mind-body medicine and psycho-oncology support to cancer patients.

    If you think that the services we offer would be of benefit to you, please let me know and I will send you our brochure which introduces our services in greater detail. You can also check us out as http://www.thecsp.co.uk. I would be more than happy to offer our services on a completely pro bono basis.

    I hope everything is going well and I look forward to the next blog.

    Best wishes,


  7. Hi Rachel

    Your blog is really uplifting: I’m so glad I discovered it. I live in High Wycombe, have a 10 year old and a 13 year old, and am just about to have no.4 chemo session for cancer of the small intestine. I was diagnosed in January and to be frank, have coped badly. Your approach is inspirational…….

    I tend to avoid social situations – which is ridiculous as I’ve always been super-sociable. Like you, I’ve put my full time job on hold, but unlike you, I’ve tended to exclude the children from my cancer story. I’d really like to hear more about how you have managed your communication with your kids – what they know, how you told them and how it has affected them?

    I’m having treatment at the Chiltern, in Great Missenden, which is great – the only disadvantage (wierdly) of a private room is that you never get to meet any other patients. You are the first person I have heard speak about their experience of cancer and it’s really good to know that I’m not alone.

    All the best, Katherine.

    • Katherine, it is lovely to hear from you, we are neighbours. I was treated at chiltern and shelbourne but chemo is at sunrise. Would love to talk to you, ring me on mobile 07738883387 anytime. I am just off to Brighton today but will be back Thursday night so please anytime after that good. Xxxxxx

  8. Hi Rachel

    I hope you are well.

    I have been reading your posts about your low blood counts and I just wanted to send you a quick note to tell you about some of the work I am involved in. I am a psycho-oncology Research Fellow at Southampton School of Medicine and I also run a Social Enterprise called the Cancer Survivorship Programme which provides survivorship initiatives and mind-body medicine support to cancer patients.

    One of the techniques we use regularly is guided mental imagery which much research has shown to be a very effective way of increasing white blood cell counts and other key immune markers – the research is overviewed on our research page: http://www.thecsp.co.uk/research-evidence.html

    If you would like any advice on these techniques or any practice scripts I would be more than happy to help.

    Keep us the great posts and all the best!

    Sam Watts – The Cancer Survivorship Programme

  9. Hi Rachel, I’m currently researching how cancer survivors talk about their experiences and feelings during the illness by looking at their blogs. I would like to ask if I could use yours in my research. If this is something you would like more information on, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your time.

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