I was diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in August of 2010. I am now eight months out of treatment and cancer free. My Aunt suffers with breast cancer that has grown all over her body for several years now and she is still surviving. My grandmother endured both breast and colon cancer and eventually died from cancer invading her body.
I had blood in my stool for about three years prior to diagnosis. I endured radiation, chemotherapy (5FU & oxyaliplatin), and surgeries. The effects of which were harsh and devastating. I wrote a book telling of my journey – physical, emotional, spiritual and it was published in April of 2012. “Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope” can be obtained at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble online. My story is a raw authentic telling of my experience.
I never asked for this trial of cancer to enter my life. I jumped up and down with anger at God for this diagnosis — I was full of fear – I was dismayed. I cried out, “why me!” I fell on my face before my Creator and wept and sought answers. I asked questions of myself — Who am I? What did I believe? Through enduring this trial and constantly focusing on the Lord, I found the answers and more. I experienced a most intimate relationship with God. I was lifted up, carried, provided for, and loved. I invite you to read my full story in my book, “Towdah: A Cancer Survivor’s Song of Hope” to be fully encouraged to know that God will be there for you at your weakest moments and darkest hours.
Currently, I am taking no meds per se. I take vitamins. My diet is still a guessing game as to how things affect me and I have to be careful. I suffer side effects from the treatments: neuropathy in my feet, and pelvic issues due to radiation. I have less energy and am weaker than I use to be – but I lead a relatively full life and am able to enjoy life despite the side effects, which only knock me for a day or two here and there…and I have just accepted the things I am not able to do anymore.
I had everything I needed to endure and recover. I am still waiting patiently for full recovery, but know too, that my “normal” now is not ever going to reach what use to be my normal, that is hard to accept at times.
My words of wisdom to someone just diagnosed or fighting is to always have HOPE; To follow the recommendations of your doctors — find a good one and make sure you are comfortable with him/her; To seek out help — accept help…if you don’t you are robbing them the experience of exercising compassion and serve another; Remain hopeful.
The major coping skill was my faith in Jesus Christ. God is bigger than any diagnosis — He is able to carry you and provide all that you need. You can read about my faith and my struggles – my cries to God – my frustrations, my acceptance, my comfort, and my journey in my book. One thing is certain — God is there for all of us in our weakest moments — when we are weak — HE is strong. My church family and my biological family were of utmost importance in supporting me through my darkest hours.