John Clegg, who worked for the NHS, has been told he will not see 2023 but is raising funds for treatment abroad. He has already had chemotherapy to try and beat stage four bowel cancer
A man who went to his GP more than 20 times after losing blood and claiming he looked like a skeleton said it took more than two years before he was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer.
John Clegg, who worked as a medical secretary at Nottingham’s Lings Bar Hospital, noticed a change in his irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms in late 2019, just two months after he married wife Claire.
He had always been able to manage the condition since his diagnosis in 2005, the 37-year-old suspected something was wrong, saying it got to a point where he was losing blood 10 to 15 times a day.
Mr Clegg said he went to his practice, Castle Healthcare, more than 20 times between 2019 and 2021, but claimed there was “no urgency” by his GPs to properly recognize the signs, Nottinghamshire Live report.
He added: “It was really, really bloody stools. Some of it was just blood, filling the pan. Each time I was looking progressively worse, I was losing weight and looking like a skeleton.
“Because of my age they just never checked for bowel cancer. At some point you’ve got to turn round and say ‘something’s not right here’.
“There was no urgency with the doctors. The earlier you catch these things the greater your chances of survival and the easier the fight is.”
After pushing for a colonoscopy in January 2021, Mr Clegg was given the devastating news in February that he had stage four bowel cancer and it had spread to his liver.
He said: “It was like being sideswiped by a Mack truck. I managed to stay quite strong but inside it was difficult, it was one of the hardest, if not the hardest days of my life.
“I don’t know how I managed to stay as strong as I did. But my wife and my dad broke down into pieces – inside I was right there with them but in those situations you’ve got to stay strong and positive.”
Doctors said that if he did not start treatment he would be dead within 10 weeks.
Mr Clegg initially responded well to chemotherapy, however it was told by Christmas that it had stopped working.
In March this year, he was told it was very unlikely he would see 2023.
He is now undergoing chemotherapy that has a 25 per cent chance of working, but hopes to raise funds to help pay for private treatment, likely abroad.
Mr Clegg has so far raised £4,000 of his £42,500 goal on GoFundMe, which would pay for one round of proton beam therapy, a form of radiation treatment.
He said: “Every new day I wake up is a gift, I owe it to myself and my family to keep fighting as long as it takes. I’m still here and I’m still kicking so until the day comes, I’ m going to continue to keep fighting.”
Wife Claire said her husband had been “really strong” throughout his battle with the disease.
The 31-year-old, who gave up her job to become his full-time carer, said the pair rarely go out due to his vulnerability.
“We’ve missed so many family events and parties,” she said.
“Just normal life – going to the pub, meeting up with friends, going out for Valentine’s Day and to the cinema. We don’t do any of that anymore. We still want our honeymoon.”
Jack Eyre, manager at Castle Healthcare Practice, said he could not comment on Mr Clegg’s case due to “reasons of confidentiality.”
He said: “We are sorry to hear of his diagnosis and wish him all the best in respect to his ongoing treatment.”