Honor Your Loved Ones
Right after I turned 60 in April of 2005, my wife Nancy suggested I consider going for a colonoscopy. I had never been for a screening before, and never had any symptoms of any kind. I was somewhat indifferent to the idea at first to say the least. I didn't think I needed to go through it. As it be, they saw a large mass (10). As I was rolled out of the examination room and had regained consciousness, I was told that I had to have surgery. It had to come out. A biopsy indicated that the mass was benign, but that was no guarantee. I was subsequently scheduled for a colon resection. They removed about a foot of my colon and lymph nodes. The mass was cancerous, but had not penetrated the wall of the colon. A check of my lymph nodes was negative. No follow-up treatment was recommended. They told me that I was cured.
I try to stay as fit as I possibly can. We eat healthy things, and I do alot of walking every day. After around two years, I had started to notice a pain coming from the right side of my abdomen. I was very reluctant to feel around the area for fear of finding something. I just kept thinking that it was probably just some scar tissue, or something not very serious. Then one day, I did go ahead and feel around the area and noticed a bump which was right on the surface. I went to my doctor, and he told me that it was a cyst. So he sent me home. I worried for about a week and then went back to him. He told me that he was going to put it to a rest by having me go for a CAT Scan with contrast. It had not been picked up in a previous CAT Scan that I had done. The CAT Scan with contrast indicated the possibility of a hematoma. So then they sent me for an MRI. That showed the possibility of a lesion. Then they sent me for a CAT Scan guided biopsy. It was a two centimeter malignant tumor. Then I was sent for a PET Scan to determine if the disease existed anywhere else in my body. There was no other signs of the disease anywhere else. The tumor was completely removed from any of my organs. It had not penetrated the fascia, or the bowel. So, I was scheduled for surgery to have it removed. I spent one night in the hospital. Then my oncologist called and told me that the pathologist told him that the margins had not been cleared. I had to go back for a second surgery to clear the margins. After I healed, I went through 6 months of chemotherapy. I had two reactions to the treatment, and was in the hospital on an antibiotic IV drip to rid off the infection which took about three days. I also had a mild case of pneumonia. My blood pressure dropped dramatically during my 12th and final treatment. During the course of my treatment, I did not have any hair loss. However, I still have neuropathy (nerve damage) mostly in my hands and in my feet which was as a result of my treatments.
I am currently in follow-up. I go back every 6 months for check-ups. My organs are all very healthy. There is no sign of the disease. My CEA is outstanding at 1.4 something like that. My scans once a year have also been outstanding. After 5 years, they tell me that I will be released back to my primary care physician.
It all started with that colonoscopy I didn't think I needed. It was a strange series of events. Nancy wanting me to go for a screening, and my persistence to have things further checked out after being told that what I was noticing in my abdomen was probably only a cyst. I am so very thankful. Alot of prayers were said for me, and alot of tears were also shed including my own. It seemed like everyone we know was praying for me. I thank God with all my heart that I am a very healthy man this day. It was indeed the most difficult time of my life.
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