I am a 35 year old, single mom to a wonderful 8 year old son. We live together in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I work full time at a small law firm. I became aware that something was just not quite right around September of 2009.
I have always been active and pretty healthy. My symptoms started slowly and were fairly subtle: slow weight loss, lack of energy, anemia and an overall feeling of being “off.” It wasn’t until March of 2011 that I was finally diagnosed with colon cancer.
I am so thankful that I listened to my body when it was telling me that something was wrong. Getting a colonoscopy saved my life, without a doubt. After more blood work was performed I was also diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome. Due to this added factor, my surgeon advised that I should have the majority of my colon removed. After surgery, it was determined that I had stage 2 colon cancer; luckily cancer was not found in my lymph nodes. Chemotherapy and radiation were not recommended.
When I was told that I had cancer, my first thought was that this is going to kill me. I have learned, however, that cancer is not always a death sentence. Knowledge about this disease is so empowering, I had to get as much information as possible. When researching colon cancer, I did become frustrated because most information was not geared towards younger women. I would really like to see more effort be made to help those of us who do not fit the “normal” colon cancer patients.
My cancer and Lynch Syndrome diagnosis not only took me off guard, but my entire family. I am the first in my family to be diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome. My paternal grandmother had colon cancer at a much older age and my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, also later in life.
The effects of surgery have brought a new “normal” to my life and I have had to adjust to how my body works now. Being diagnosed with cancer and Lynch Syndrome is so frightening. Each doctor’s appointment, every ache or pain and I’m thinking, “it’s back.” This fear is okay though, because it reminds me that I have to appreciate my life. I am so thankful for what I have and all the opportunities that are given to me.
The phrase “Get Your Rear in Gear” means so much to me – I am now ready for whatever life hands me, I do what’s best for me, both physically and mentally. Taking care of myself is important now along with spreading information to others about colon cancer and Lynch Syndrome. I can’t live as though the next day is guaranteed. I told myself that I would not allow this disease to control me and I have to live my life to the fullest.
This is just going to be a little blip on my radar!