“Pain in my side while on vacation was a sign I had only a few months to live”

Ros Atkins, from Gateacre, Liverpool, was on holiday in Scotland with her husband and daughter when she started experiencing pain in the right side of her body that felt like a pinch

Ros Atkins
Ros Atkins was shocked to discover she had between 18 months and five years to live

A mother has been told she may have just months to live after a pain in her side was revealed to be colon cancer.

Ros Atkins, from Gateacre, Liverpool, was on holiday in Scotland with her husband John, 42, and their daughter Maggie, six, when she first experienced pain in the right side of her body that felt like a pinch.

That Liverpool echo reports that the 43-year-old said she thought she had pulled a muscle while sleeping in different hotel beds at the time, but when the pain worsened upon returning home, she booked an appointment with her GP.

One of Ros Atkins’ best friends, Matt Jones, has stepped in to raise money for Bowelbabe


Andrew Teebay (Liverpool Echo)

Ros said: “I can only describe it as a stitch down the right side. It started to be quite painful when I took a deep breath, that’s the only way I can really describe it.”

After going to her GP who believed she might have a blood clot in her lungs, Ros was told to go to the hospital straight away. Breast scan results showed a dark shadow on Ros’s liver and she was sent for an MRI scan, which found secondary cancer cells on her liver.

After a colonoscopy at St Helens Hospital, Merseyside, Ros was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and told secondary cancer cells had also spread to her liver and lymph nodes.

Ros Atkins was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 43


Andrew Teebay (Liverpool Echo)

It was around this time that Ros received the devastating news at Whiston Hospital that she had between 18 months and five years to live. She said: “The surgeons didn’t feel safe enough at that point to perform an operation just because the tumor was in place. It took a long time before we understood each other.

“I think I actually managed to come to terms with it earlier than my husband, he really struggled with it and found the next few days after that incredibly difficult.

“I didn’t accept at the age of 43 with a six-year-old daughter that I had so little time left on Earth, so we have to find something that we’re going to do. I had to go into “business mode” to be able to go through what I was told.

“Some days this has worked and I’m able to stay in this business brain place and other days are what I call dark days where I can’t think of anything but that and my family and friends that I will leave behind. But my daughter, that’s huge – and that’s what I’m struggling with the most.”

Ros said she didn’t have any of the typical symptoms of colon cancer because the tumor was positioned on the lining of the colon. The mother began her first chemotherapy session at the Lilac Center at St Helens Hospital in late October last year, but five days later she had to undergo emergency surgery after her bowel ruptured.

Ros resumed chemotherapy in December but was later told it had been unsuccessful. She has now started another chemotherapy regimen and is determined to try all the options available to her. She said her main source of inspiration since her diagnosis has been Deborah James, known as “The Bowel Babe,” who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and understanding of colon cancer since her diagnosis in 2016.

Ros’ friends did the Wirral Coastal Walk today [May 22] All funds raised will go to the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK. Her best friend Matt Jones is also helping to raise awareness by standing on one leg during his stand-up comedy performances. Matt said: “If I can embarrass myself standing on one leg in front of 250 people, then basically anyone can have a few minutes to embarrass themselves about getting screened for – and for – colon cancer a few minutes of embarrassment can save your life.”

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