On March 11, 2011, I was rushed into emergency surgery where they removed a grapefruit sized tumor from my colon. The symptoms that I had up to that point were textbook according to WebMD. However, I blew off the advice that informed me to visit a doctor immediately. For one, I did not want anyone poking around my rear exit…how embarrassing!…secondly, not wanting to believe anything serious could happen to me, I chalked it up to another colitis flare up; a really long lasting flare up.
Nothing humbles you more than finding out you have stage 4 colon cancer with a 3 centimeter metastisis on your liver. The embarrassment of having my rear exit poked and prodded? Out the door. I now laugh and call my appointments my alien abduction seeing as there will be an anal probe! Ha!
I was prescribed 12 rounds of chemo, which I tolerated very well. If you didn’t know I had cancer, you would never have guessed that I was on chemo every other week and had a pooh pouch; my colostomy.
After nine rounds of chemo, I flew to Houston where I had a liver resection at MD Anderson. They removed the last of the cancer that, thanks to chemo, had shrunk down to 1 centimeter. I was on the road to recovery. I had my colostomy reversed, but not before I had to wear a wound vac on my abdomen due to my incision from my liver resection reopening. That was the most horrific pain I have ever endured in all my life and would never wish it upon anyone. After the 6 painful weeks of healing with the wound vac, I was able to get my colostomy reversed. Unfortunately, the wound site became infected and I found myself in the hospital again for a week. I was able to come home on Christmas Eve and receive antibiotics daily for a month from home health care through my porta cath.
Through it all, I remained happy and positive. At no time did I think I was going to die. But just in case I did, I did not want to spend my final days depressed and in a funk. Well, one year later, I am still cancer free and back to work in the classroom. It seems like another lifetime and I can’t believe it was me.
One thing is for sure, I thank God he gave me my sarcastic and humorous ways. It was the laughter that got me through my darkest days. In the hospital after my first surgery, I joked with people saying that the cancer didn’t scare me…it was having to move back in with my parents that made me scream in horror!
A year being cancer free is such an amazing feeling, especially being stage 4, that now I wonder what God has planned for me. It is now that I question His reason…. His reason for keeping me here when so many have passed. I am still waiting for a sign but until I stumble upon it, I remain happy and believe it or not, I feel blessed having been through the ordeal I have been through. I have become more patient not letting little things bother me. I have learned to enjoy life and appreciate what I have. My mind is clearer and not clouded up by petty circumstances and stress. I continue to share my story letting everyone know anything is possible.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.