- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
I Am A Cancer Survivor
I am lucky to be alive. I am a Stage 4 colon cancer survivor-twice. The first time I was diagnosed was in August 2013. I was 345lbs., my eating habits were terrible(a lot of red meat, sugar, sweets, and pop), and did not know that my world would be turned upside down. After a few months of abdominal pains, vomiting, fever, and finally, not being able to go #2 for three days, I called in sick and went to the urgent care doctor. He listened to my symptoms, examined me, and said " You have an obstruction in your bowel. You need to go to the ER right away." A few months back, in May of that year, I went to our doctor, and he told me I had the flu. I remember I went to the ER after that, and although a CT scan was supposed to be performed on me, it wasn't.
Anyway, I called my husband and he met me at the hospital. This time, A CT scan was performed, and the initial diagnosis was diverticulitis. My GP was not buying that-he ordered more tests, and that's when the cancer diagnosis was confirmed. August 15, 2013 was the day of my surgery. They removed a 6.5 cm growth from my colon. When I awakened from surgery, the surgeon told me I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. I said "Ok. Stage 4 colon cancer. What is the next stage?" He replied "There is no stage 5." Whoa. There were two spots on my liver, and a spot on my lung. I stayed in the hospital three weeks, and on October 8, 2013, my port is installed on the right side of my chest. Later on that month, I started chemo. In March of 2014, I had surgery to remove the growths of my liver-one cancerous, and the other one, non cancerous, and to remove my left ovary. Thank God I'm not a drinker, and my liver was healthy. I was in the hospital a week, and soon after, I went back on chemo. I finished chemo in October of 2014. I was told by my oncologist that I was in remission not long after.
I went back to my old eating habits, thinking I was invincible, while on Xeloda chemo maintenance pills. It finally caught up to me when I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer again in May 2015. This time, it started in my colon again, bypassed my liver(Thank God), and hit my girlie parts-my cervix, my uterus, and my right ovary. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock. My husband told me that everything would be ok.
On August 4th, 2015, I had surgery to remove the growth(s) on my colon, and my girlie parts. Instant hysterectomy. I was only 49. The surgeon said she wasn't sure she could remove my cervix, but she did. After that surgery, a day or so later, I was having gas pains in my tummy. More tests were run, and on August 8th, 2015, I went back into surgery or I would have turned septic and died. My husband and I prayed that I would survive the surgery, and then, once more, when I was in the hall on the gurney waiting to be brought into surgery, I prayed again. I survived the surgery, but I had to have a temporary illestomy bag for two months. Yes, I had my first cycle of chemo in September of that year, and it knocked me on my fanny. After one cycle, I was declared NED-no evidence of disease. We were so happy. I drastically changed my eating habits-red meat only twice a week, more fruits and veggies, no white sugar, and no pop. I am now down to 237lbs and losing. I had my reversal surgery October 21st, 2015. The surgeon made me take four pills, plus I also had to prep my body for surgery. He was making sure I had no more infections in my tummy!! It was a success. I came home from the hospital October 23rd, 2015. I started back on chemo soon after.
I am proud to say that I am still NED, and my last infusion chemo was approximately 2 weeks ago. I have learned a lot about myself. I will start Xeloda and Avastin very soon. I am grateful to my husband for keeping me on track as far as healthy eating and exercise. I am grateful to my team of doctors and nurses who got me to where I am today, and I am grateful to God for giving me another chance, for it could have been the other way so quickly.