I would like to begin my story by acknowledging that I have enjoyed a charmed life. I did extensive travelling as an Army Officer in my 20s, close to 15 years working in a healthcare corporation, in New York, and finally close to 14 years as an Assistant Director in Housing at UNC Charlotte.
Like many others currently fighting cancer I had never faced a serious health issue in my life prior to my diagnosis of colon cancer at the age of 52 of April 2015. In the weeks leading to my initial diagnosis I was dealing with significant constipation and inability to eat or drink much without getting sick. I immediately made an appointment to get a long overdue colonoscopy, but became concerned because I did not feel that I would be able to complete the required prep. As I suspected I was unable to complete the prep and ended up in the ER twice over the course of three days before it was determined that a tumor had almost completely blocked a section in my colon.
I had to immediately be hospitalized to have a temporary stent inserted. It would allow the waste to get through my system before they could perform a colon resection to address my stage II colon cancer. Although my diagnosis was a shocker for me, my family, and coworkers, I always assumed that I would beat it because my life has been filled with victories and blessings. I completed six months of chemo, via pill, and considered my dance with cancer to be over when I received clean scans in January of 2016.
Unfortunately, a follow up scan in June of 2016 revealed that the cancer had returned to a lymph node near my original surgical site and had metastasized to my liver. The most disheartening news my oncologist delivered, at the time was, that due to the location and number of tumors in my liver, it was inoperable.
I can honestly say that being told that I have inoperable Stage IV cancer totally knocked the wind out of me for a week. I then determined that the sadness and pity party of one did not suit me. It was incredibly time consuming and without benefit to me or my loved ones. Once I wrapped my mind around my situation, I determined that I had to do whatever I could do to increase my chances of more time on earth with my loved ones. I could not let cancer suck all of the life out of me before my time.
I had a port implanted in July of 2016. I began my chemo infusion therapy with hopes that I would respond to the treatment. Not only did I respond well to the treatment, but by October the tumors were small enough that surgery became an option. I had a liver resection in December and a successful removal of the tumor around my surgical site. This resulted in me getting the much sought after “NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE” status on my January scans! I am happy to say that I am currently on the follow up chemo treatment plan, with hopes that the majority of my future dances will be to my favorite tunes rather than with cancer. ALWAYS THE FIGHTER…..NEVER A QUITTER…..BRING IT!!!Return To Faces of Blue Learn More About Colon Cancer Get Your Rear In Gear- Charlotte, NC