I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer after I had just turned 41. My children were ages 9, 11 and 12. The thought I might not make it to see them grow struck fear in my heart. I had dreamed of being a mother all my life and had been enjoying raising my very busy children.
After finding the 7 tumors in my liver, they sent me for another scan. This time I laid in the CT machine in fear pleading to God to please not let it be in my lungs. Somehow in my heart I thought I could do the liver but please don’t add the lungs.
I had good news, at least in my eyes; it was confined to the liver and colon. When meeting my Oncologist I felt I was in good hands right away. He had a plan for me and said if that plan didn’t work he had another one. He had said in some case when it’s confined to one organ they can get it. That’s all I needed– the possibility of HOPE of raising my children.
I did my chemotherapy, which I responded very well to, it shrunk the tumors scattered in my liver to a more reasonable size. I did another surgery, this time to tackle my liver. They were able to do a wedge resection and radio frequency ablation. They found an extra spot so they ended up burning five spots and cutting out three.
It was about at this time I was looking pretty sick. I had lost 38 pounds and had to gain weight in order to get back on chemo. I was very proactive and worked hard to gain weight and kept exercising like my doctor suggested. I clung to the Hope I was going to beat this. I had a hard time, people around me really wanted me to face reality and they didn’t believe I could beat it and thought I should be preparing my children.
I just felt in my heart I would know if I wasn’t going to make it. I would prepare my kids if needed. It was hard having other people around me trying to help but being so off– trying to take away my Hope. I wanted to be treated normal, go to my children’s soccer games, dive meets or baseball even if that meant sometimes with my chemo pump on.
I am now out over 5 years from treatment and 7 years NED. I have two of my three children in college with only one left at home...
My kids at first weren’t that excited about my constant colon talk– it was too close to home. But they also knew I couldn’t stop educating others on such a preventable and overlooked disease. How could I walk away when others could not?
As a family we have had to handle loss, compassion and hope for others we have met.
Through this journey we have all learned not to take each day for granted and to hold onto what is really important.
Hope can be for a cure, for more time, a good day. But no one should take it away from you.
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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