During the middle of a blizzard, I drove to the ER for what I thought was a horrible case of the flu. I had just cleared snow the day before, but something was not right. That trip to the ER ended up saving my life. None of the tests showed anything wrong except for a hemoglobin level of 4.3…I was not going home. I had 5 blood transfusions over the next 2 days. After talking with the doctor, we decided to do an upper GI band, which is a colonoscopy to look for possible stomach issues (ulcers, bacteria, etc).
A few hours later, lunch was sitting in front of me, and I was told lunch was being taken away because I was having surgery the next day at 5 pm. Then I saw it… EARL (the tumor). The doctor quickly said, “no biopsy needed, you have cancer.” The biopsy was done, but no time was wasted.
I awoke with the confetti falling on the winner of the Superbowl of 2011. I was missing 12 inches of my colon, and 33 lymph nodes had been tested. My lymph nodes were negative, scans were clean, and blood was negative. I had stage II colon cancer. Then came the big decisions, as well as oncologists, doctors, and more doctors. My port was put in 3 weeks later, and chemo started the following week. I went through 12 rounds over 7 months with 2 delayed treatments. Outside of surgery, I missed 12 days of work (the 1st day of each treatment). I wore my very stylish barnacle to work the following 2 days and then collapsed every other weekend out of physical and emotional exhaustion.
Here is what you may not expect. I was 36 in Feb of 2011. I will be 39 in May. Today is 26 months later. I will have my 2nd annual scan this month, my yearly colonoscopy next month, and will continue with 3 month appointments through the end of this year.
I surround myself with loving family and friends, and I believe strongly in the strength of prayer and faith. Not all days are easy, not all days are hard, but I continue to appreciate each monthly milestone more and more. I try to speak openly with my friends and family and strangers, as well. People squirm when they hear about guts! I say it took guts (literally) to fight like a girl and make the death of Earl a reality. I kissed Earl goodbye, I kissed cancer goodbye, I kissed many walls I had before away.
Much love to all of you beautiful girls fighting whatever burden you have been given and showing all your beauty!
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.