Get Help Your Voices Sophie What cancer were you diagnosed with? Stage 4 Bowel Cancer, BRAF mutation What age were you diagnosed? 36 What has helped you to thrive? My kids (aged 4 and 7) are my biggest motivation and what keeps me going, being told I probably won't live to see them at 10 years old makes me determined not to let that come true. The amazing support from friends, family and people I don't even know, from fundraising for us to sending me cards and gifts in the post, has been so motivating. A great thing I did, albeit way later than I should have, was set up my instagram page (unbowelievable). It's been such a help to know there are people out there that can relate, we can share knowledge and lift each other up. Also just having a positive mindset, and doing a lot of holistic things alongside the treatment, from meditation, having therapy, reading, yoga and breath work, has really helped me mentally. Sophie's Story I was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, with metastasis to the liver and lymph nodes, in June 2018 at the age of 36. It was found following a colonoscopy, and MRI scan I had to investigate for Crohn's disease, so, not the result anyone was expecting! I had been having strange symptoms for about a year before it was discovered. Unfortunately, my symptoms weren’t typical bowel cancer symptoms so this, alongside the fact I was a young female, who had been vegetarian for 15 years, led everyone to think that I had some kind of IBD. It started off with me going to the doctor for fatigue and random bouts of vomiting once a week. It wasn’t until about 6 months after that, that the bowel changes happened. This, alongside the fact I was a young female, who had been vegetarian for 15 years at that point, led everyone to think that I had some kind of IBD. My tumour was so massive that during the colonoscopy, they couldn’t get the camera passed it. It was about to cut my bowels off completely, so surgery was to happen first before chemo. After the surgery, it was discovered I have the BRAF mutation, which is very aggressive with a poor prognosis. My doctor told me if I do well with the chemo, I had about 2-3 years. I only lasted 8 rounds of very aggressive chemo before it started failing, and nearly destroyed me in the process. Fortunately though, I also am in the 5% of bowel cancer patients who are MSI, which responds well to immunotherapy. Since the chemo failed, I was eligible for a new treatment called Nivolumab and have been on it for a year now. I feel amazing compared to how I felt on chemo, and the only side effect so far is my developing an autoimmune disease called Addisons. My tumours have shrunk a little and I am currently stable and doing well, 18 months on since my diagnosis.