My name is Kim Mehler. I am a colon cancer survivor. I’m a wife and mother to 2 young boys. When I was diagnosed with colon cancer our world shattered. I naively thought that I was unbreakable. That cancer wouldn’t touch me. Was I wrong!
It was winter of 2012. I had been feeling awful with pains in my lower abdomen. I had been seeing my GI to get to the bottom of my problem. We started with food allergy testing knowing that if these tests came back negative, a colonoscopy would be necessary. I remember that day like it was yesterday. After the test, my Dr. brought my husband and I into a room and the 3 words we dreaded were spoken. ” You have Stage I Colon Cancer.” Four days later the pathology came back confirming the news.
Here I am, 38 and a mother to a 5 year old and a 2 year old. My Aunt passed away at the age of 52 from colon and stomach cancer. She had been in remission for 6 years when it had metastasized to her stomach. Initially she was diagnosed with ovarian and colon cancer in 2002. Historically, I have followed her “medical path”, having to get a total hysterectomy at the age of 37. I had cysts on both ovaries that looked cancerous. I was informed by my OB/GYN that if we waited any longer there was no doubt it would have been ovarian cancer. At the age of 38 I was diagnosed with colon cancer.
After the shock wore off, I got to planning. I contacted a surgeon. I wanted this out of me. During my hospital stay, we found out that the cancer had spread to 3 of the fifteen lymph nodes that were tested. I did not have stage I colon cancer; I had stage IIIA. I felt the room spin. Are you kidding me? I’m 38, healthy, and extremely happy. How did this happen to me? We didn’t waste any time lining up an oncologist who was very honest, extremely kind and understood how scared I was. I started chemo on July 29, 2012. I was to only have 12 rounds, however, mid August 2012 my body started to shut down. The chemo that was going to save my life, was killing me. Thankfully, my oncologist changed up my “cocktail”. It would mean twenty-six treatments vs. the twelve.
I remember going every Friday, hoping to just get through this. Not for me, but for the family. I didn’t want my children to grow up without a mother. I didn’t want my husband to be a widower. I found strength in them. Every weekend I was in bed, sleeping, sick, losing weight, and dealing with this piano over my head. I prayed to God to give me strength, to get me through this. My parents, sisters and friends were amazing. They were my cheerleaders, my sounding boards, and my shoulders when I needed it.
My last chemo treatment was December 21, 2012. It was one of the best days of my life. All the nurses cried along with my husband and I. I never thought that day would come. It has been thirteen months and 3 days since my last chemo treatment. I have had several scans, labs, and colonoscopies. Thankfully everything has come back clear.
Colon Cancer has affected me in so many ways. I’m a little obsessed with finding out how to prevent this, what can I do to move the needle more in the direction of awareness. I am extremely lucky that my family and friends are advocates to what this disease can do if not detected early.
It’s easy to say this now, but never give up. It is a tough road, but you are so precious to so many people that you NEED to be a fighter. You have the strength in you. Never give up!
Get your rear in gear means so many things to me. In 2011, my husband, children and I participated in the walk in Philadelphia. 1 year later, I had colon cancer. You need to be an advocate for your health. It really is about early detection. I don’t like to think what would happen if I had waited any longer.