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Faces of Blue: Mark Fenlon

By April 3, 2013Faces of Blue

FOB-MarkFenlonI worked for as a State of Michigan Corrections officer for 25 years. I was awarded Officer of the Year in 2009 at Kinross Correctional facility.

There is a history of cancer in my family. My mother died at 56 of ovarian cancer and my grandmother died of Breast cancer. I had blood in my stool, irregular bowel movements, and weight loss before a colonoscopy determined I had Stage IIIc upper third rectal cancer.

I was as low as low can go. I was officer of the year in May of 2009 and was fired by the State of Michigan less than a year later, after 24.5 years or service because the state doctors would not clear me to return to work. They denied my retirement and we filed for bankruptcy.  Soon after, my wife filed for divorce and I lost all my possessions and children. That was a very difficult time in my life. Now, I volunteer my time to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life as a committee member and I volunteer several hours a day at our town’s new hospice house and I enjoy helping families and friends anyway I can.

Being diagnosed with cancer was hard on me, but also very hard on my family, due to the loss of my mother and grandmother. Six months prior to my diagnosis one of my best friends and co-worker of 18 years was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. We did chemo together; sadly he lost his battle a year and a half ago.

Since my diagnosis I’ve changed my diet and now I eat well, lots of chicken and fish, with not much red meat. I eat tons of vegetables and fruits and limit my sugar intake.

My advice for others is don’t listen to survival rates or percentages of living to the five year mark, listen to your body. Be positive, have your faith and surround yourself with good people. Tell your family and friends that you love them as much as possible. “This is only a setback to a great comeback”

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