Living My Life

Living My Life


About one year after my open heart surgery to remove a huge clot in my heart from the chemotherapy port, I realized that not only am I alive, but I had this deep need to give back to my fellow cancer survivors/warriors. My experience with colon cancer was not a typical one and every complication, everything that the doctors would say happens one in five-hundred thousand or one in a million, would happen to me and because of this I realized the difficult journey I went through was to give hope and offer help to someone else.

I was diagnosed at age 28 with stage IV colon cancer that was metastasized in my abdominal wall and lymph nodes, with no family history of the disease. After fighting with doctors & my health insurance, who all insisted nothing, was wrong, I finally got help and my initial diagnosis after being admitted in the emergency room!! I have since had eight surgeries; I have had two recurrences and mets to my left lung. I had so many "chemo cocktails" it's a miracle I can still think at all.



Being diagnosed and having the whole reality of cancer and everything it brings good or bad, is the hardest part of your fight. The most basic truth that I can say is that you’re going to get really sick and be in pain; however this is all in the hopes to kill the cancer. That is why when you have good days LIVE YOUR LIFE! Don’t worry about the bills, don’t worry if the house is clean, just make each moment count.

Now at age 38, I am ten years out from my initial diagnosis and I can say I am NED- No Evidence Detected. I am also at a positive place with cancer, but it took a very long, dark, hard and complicated journey to get there. I still have a lot of pain and complications from all the surgeries and damage left in my body from all the chemotherapy but that’s ok because I am alive and I give back by volunteering and advocating!


Vanessa Ghigliotty
CCA NYC Ambassador
Survivor and Advocate

Are you at Risk For Colorectal Cancer?

  • 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined
  • Colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer
  • 50% of Americans still do not get colonoscopy reimbursement
  • Colon cancer research is still vastly under-funded

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