Honor Your Loved Ones
Around June 2010, I went to my primary care doctor for constipation and adominal pain. He asked me a few question about my family and my medical history. After I told him nobody in my immediated family was dignose with Colon Cancer, he stated to me that I was to young to be screen for Colon Cancer. He sent me home on a high fiber diet. Over the next 4-weeks my symptoms didn't get any better. I was at work and couldn't make a bowel movement, I was vomiting and the abdominal pain was so severe it brought me to my knees. My supervisor called 911......I was in so much pain, I could not tell the paramedics what was wrong with me. They took me to Georgetown University Hospital Emergency Department. The ED doctor asked me so many questions about my illness and about my family illness. The minute I told him all of my symtopms he ordered a fecal culture right away. He came back to the room what seem like 2-second and told my family he was admitting me for an immediate Colonoscopy on Monday morning. I was admitted on a Friday. It never dawned on me that a Colonoscopy was used to screen for Colon Cancer. I was in so much pain that Cancer never enter my mind and I was on so much pain meds to keep me comfortable. Monday morning I was taking down to the surgery center for my first Colonoscopy, I was so nerves that the nurse ask me "why is your heart beating so fast?" I told her "I don't know??? Maybe I'm nervous because I never had a Colonoscopy before." She assured me that I will not feel a thing and you will be totally out of it during the procedure. I meet Dr. Palese (GI doctor), for the first time and she was so nice. She explained to me the risk that comes with the procedure and she will explain everything to me once she completed the examine. A few hours later on August 26, 2010, she came to my room w/two other doctors and dropped the bad news on my husband and I. She said I had a large tumor the size of an egg enlarged in my rectum which was why I was unable to pass stool. She hestiated took a deep breath and told me it was CANCER.........I just bust out crying, I don't think I ever cried that hard in my life!!!!! Dr. Palese told me "you will have another procedure, to stage the tumor!" At that point nothing she was saying was registering. All I saw flashing in my mind was CANCER, I didn't want to hear anything else. After the next procedure I can remember my whole family and Dr. Palese standing in the recovery area and everybody smiling! Dr. Palese said: "you have Stage III Colorectal Cancer and the tumor didn't spread outside the rectum walls and it didn't Metastasis (spreaded) to other organs!" She immediately referred me to Dr. John Marshall (Onocologist), at Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. While planning the best treatment for me, Dr. Marshall referred me to Dr. Allen P. Chudzinski (Colon & Rectal Surgeon). My mother and I meet with Dr. Chudzinski early October 2011, to go over the surgery plan. As the Surgeon was talking everything sound foriegn to me. My mind was racing 100-miles per hour, the fact that I had Colorectal Cancer was not registering with me......I was in total shock! Dr. Chudzinski was very knowledgeable (Intelligent and well informed), and had a very caring attitude. He was so, patience with answering our questions. Dr. Marshall set-up my radiation and chemotheraphy treatment, I took Xeloda 500 mg per tablet/6-tablets a day along with radiation 5-times a week for 5-weeks, (M-F) and Prochlorperazine 10mg per tablets as needed for nausea. I contiune to work during my radiation/chemo treatment up until week 4. The radiation burn the inside of my buttock, which at that time when I wiped skin would come off on the tissue. It was so painful I had to stop working because I could not sit down. I was given cream w/aloe vera and Oxycodone/Acetainophen 5-352MG tablets for pain. I waited 6-weeks until my good cells returned and was schedule on November 30, 2010 for a low, low, low extended anterior resection with Colonal Anastamosis and temporary ileotosmy bag attached. My Surgeon cut out 15 lymph nodes all but, 5 were Cancer free. After Dr. Marshall received the report from the Surgeon, he started my next intervention. On January 4, 2011 I received my first dose of Fluorouracil 4,560 mg(@ 2,400 mg/m2) (of 50 mg/ml), Intravenous every Saturday at the hospital with a combination of more Xeloda. I was so, sick while taking Fluorouracil, by the time I regrouped and tried to get myself together after each dosage, it was time for my next dose. I stayed sick/nausea until I completed the Florouracil. March 2011 my sister, best-friend, daughter, aunt and myself participated in the Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness; sponsor by The Chris4Life Foundation. May 4, 2011-Reseveral and take down of my ileotosmy bag. September 1,2011-Develop a Partial Bowel Obstruction........Surgery was performed to remove adhesions and scare tissue. October 28, 2011-Develop another Partial Bowel Obstruction.......Surgery/Exploratory laparotory small bowel resection, adhesions and re-anastamosis. December 12, 2011-Surgery/Hemorrhoidectomy I now have regular CT-Scans, Colonoscopy's and doctor visit, to look for any signs of returning cancer. To date I am Cancer Free!!!! I am very grateful for the doctor's mention in my story who worked so diligent to save my life. The support of my friends and family, without them I would have been a basket case!
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