I am a 23+ years Colorectal Cancer Survivor Advocating for Early Testing and Call to Action for Ostomates Nationwide.
First I WAS TOO SCARED: If I only knew signs of irregularity like bright red spots or dark “tarry” stools was a sign of blood in the stool. I didn’t notice the problem until I was literally bleeding with each bowel movement. This went on for quite some time and I was too embarrassed and too scared to go to a doctor. Then I was TOO SCARED NOT TO SEE A DOCTOR: The pain was so severe like a piercing knife through my spine I knew something was wrong. My gynecologist said to me the blood was too excessive and was going on for far too long and was certain it was not related to my nerves. He gave me the name of a proctologist to make an appointment for a colonoscopy and that’s how they found the polyp.
Some of the most important things I can share with you about my survival story is my fight to beat colon cancer and how it begins with our minds and heart. The battles that we often come across in life are not easy, but life is such a gift. My mom was a dear woman and she taught me we had to fight and be strong. She use to say to me, “Yes, you have cancer, but you must now pull yourself up by your bra straps and be strong and get well to take care of your children.” My mom did worry for me, but she wanted me to fight so that is the lesson she gave me that really stuck.
I know my drive and perseverance to fight was what helped me, thank the Lord. You must make an active choice to fight for your life as I did. I often cry out to the Lord and especially when we are going through a very tough time it’s difficult to pray or think of scriptures, but I would remember and want to share with you that the Lord refuses to quit on us. When we are too weak to pray the Holy Spirit intercedes with God’s will on our behalf (Rom. 8:26-27). That comforts me immensely and I hope that it will comfort you too.
Living with an ileostomy was quite different for me it limits the amount of food (selection and quantity) that I can intake. Remember I’m working with my small intestines only. Some of the most nutritional foods that are good for most people (vegetables, fruit, fiber…) cannot be easily digested by many people with ileostomy though all cases are different.
It is important to eat small meals frequently throughout the day as the ileostomy never stops working so you can easily become dehydrated and have an electrolyte imbalance. I know this from experience. The waste out-put with an ileostomy is more liquid then the paste out-put that a colostomy produces. I had to be very careful ensuring I have enough fluids and in order to get the necessary nutrients I would lack from not being able to eat vegetables and fruit etc I learned to take 1-3 Ensure Plus a day. I also drink Gatorade to replenish electrolytes lost from having an ileostomy. Electrolyte imbalance can include loss of appetite, drowsiness, abdominal cramps and faint feelings. Seek medical help immediately! While most people should avoid salt I need to take an extra serving of salt to put back all that is lost from the fluid out-put of an ileostomy. For quite a while in addition to table salt I had to take salt tablets. Consult your physician about the proper amount your body requires.
People who’ve been there, who can come alongside me and, tell me it would be ok. That’s why I’ve started my outreach to be there for those going through it or family members and also to bring awareness for early testing. Please visit my blog.
Ten years post-radiation treatment I was diagnosed with lymphedema in one leg due to radiation burn. I learned to manage this being a fighter, survivor and determined to live life to it’s fullest by using a combination of leg wrapping, compression stockings, elevating my legs, and specialized lymphatic massage therapy. But only four years ago when being treated for UTI given Leviquin by IV drip I ended up with Neuropathy in the same limb that I have lymphedema (my weakest limb). I woke up paralyzed in one leg the next day.
After several months I had regained some mobility. Due to Gabapentin Rx treatment it took away a lot of pain, but still causes increased numbness and sometimes I trip over my foot. I have been determined, the last few years, to search for the right treatment and only eight days ago I started my treatment using the ReBuilder Treatment System, also used by Cancer Treatment Center’s of America, which since I’ve been using it I’ve regained movement in my toes which were previously numb and lifeless. I now feel temperatures and can even walk without my cane (though I still use it since it’s only been eight days). I am so grateful to God for this miracle and for finally gaining some relief. I highly recommend investigating if this treatment is right for you if you have neuropathy. It is covered up to 80% by Medicare.
I know life isn’t always easy, but it sure is good to be alive! Live in the present moment and be grateful and seek joy and find ways to bring joy and help to others in need.
If you are feeling or experiencing something similar, I’d love to hear from you. I didn’t have anyone who could relate to me at the time and I don’t want that for you. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Luv you all!