'I didn't want to bother NHS' - Cancer scare mum urges others to seek help

Michelle Lucas, from Watton, has praised the Norfolk and Norwich for her treatment during the pandemic.

Michelle Lucas, from Watton, has praised the Norfolk and Norwich for her treatment during the pandemic. - Credit: Michelle Lucas

A keep fit business owner is urging others that think they need urgent medical care to not put off seeking help.

Michelle Lucas, from Watton, has lived with endometriosis since she was 14 and began experiencing abdominal pain.

Initially thinking it was to do with her condition, she said she did not want to bother services due to the pandemic, but after experiencing bowel mucus and vomiting she was advised by 111 operators and her doctor to go to the emergency department.

The mum-of-three was seen by staff at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the start of December and again on December 17.

Concerned it could be bowel cancer, the hospital arranged a colonoscopy and gastroscopy for the start of January.

With rising coronavirus cases, Miss Lucas expected the appointment to be cancelled but was told it would continue. Following the tests, she was told that it was not cancer, but bowel adhesions. 

Miss Lucas, who owns Box It Fit in Dereham, said: "I was not feeling right for a couple of months. Like a lot of people I did not want to bother the NHS, I didn't want to go to my doctor and I thought it was something I could handle myself.

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"Had it been cancer, it would have been a month down the line and it could have been too late. 

"We went into a national lockdown and they still kept the appointment, anything that was urgent and needed to be seen. I was lucky in the end it was part of my ongoing condition but the hospital acted quickly."

The 40-year-old said she wanted other people to make sure they sought help.

She said: "I want to reassure people it’s ok to go to the hospital if you need it. The service was so amazing. They couldn't have done any more and they couldn't have done it better."

The NNUH has confirmed a vast number of its routine operations are cancelled because of the pressure to deal with the surging number of patients with coronavirus.

Medical director Erika Denton said last week people who had not been contacted to tell them appointments or surgery had been cancelled should still attend hospital.