In this video, Darren takes us through his journey of surviving bowel cancer.
I’ve had a positive attitude after the chemo and I thought, well, this thing’s not going to beat me. I’m going to be around for a lot more years to see my kids grow up.
Hi, my name is Darren Barton.
I’m a cancer survivor.
Um, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2008.
Um, and so it’s almost two years ago, but I’m here today to tell you what got me through, through my treatment.
In 2008, I changed jobs, I was at the Aboriginal Medical Service in Newcastle for 12 years and I was successful in getting a position as manager at the Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Medical Service in Wyong.
But before going down there I was feeling a bit lethargic and tired and had problems with my bowels. Just going to the doctors, they done x-rays but didn’t find nothing obviously with an x-ray.
So I started my new job down in Wyong. Two months down there, I went in to see our GP, Dr Nigel Chikowore, and I told him my problems and he just said to me, it sounds like, you know, that’s been going on a bit too long.
So he sent me for a test to the gastroenterologist, Dr. David Parkin, and he after interviewing him, he wasn’t expecting to find anything. He said, Oh, you’re pretty, pretty young so I’m not expecting to find anything.
So after we had the colonoscopy done, I come to the first thing he said to me is, we need to get you into surgery because you have a very large tumour.
So, you know, this this shocked me pretty much.
Then he then came out and told my partner and she she was pretty she was a bit more shocked than I was.
I just, one of the first things I thought of was, was, Oh yeah typical being Aboriginal, you know, and you know, I guess you know, this is it. I’m not going to not going to live past the typical lifespan that we have.
We got, got home, had a good talk.
I’ve done the follow ups with the surgeons, had, had surgery and then I was on chemo for seven months.
Got through that and just thought about life a bit more. Took things a bit more, made things a bit more precious to you. Especially the kids. And I guess, changed the way of I’ve been living.
Previously, you go to meetings, your swing through McDonald’s or something like that, grab all the burgers and then just eat on the road to the to the next meeting and just not think.
But then, you know, after all this has happened, I changed all my dietary habits and, you know, starting to look at foods more healthier than than my previous diet.
The three messages that I can tell people, it’s it’s having a positive attitude because, you know, if you think you’ve got cancer, that’s it, then you probably won’t last much longer. But my, I’ve had a positive attitude after the chemo and I thought, well, this thing’s not going to beat me. I’m going to be around for a lot more years to see my kids grow up. I got three children, four children, sorry, one on the way.
Exercise, regular exercise, eating healthier.
And if you’re a man, especially us males, you tend not to go to GPs.
We need to go on a more regular basis, you know, every six months, every three months, just to have your bloods and all that sort of stuff tested and just to stay on top of things.