My name is Misty Watson. I’m 35 years old and live in Jackson, MS. I currently work for the Mississippi Insurance Department in the Life and Health Division where I work closely with implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the state. At age 29, I was diagnosed with Stage II colon cancer. I’m the youngest of four siblings and neither parent nor any grandparents have ever been diagnosed with any form of cancer.
I underwent colon resection surgery where six inches of my sigmoid colon, appendix and 36 lymph nodes were removed. After a tough recovery, I endured 6 months of Folfox chemotherapy. It left me weak, physically and emotionally, but it worked. I have been cancer free ever since.
Being diagnosed with colon cancer at such a young age made me grow up quickly. Although I was clearly an adult at 29, I don’t think many 29 year olds face mortality very often. A cancer diagnosis turns your world upside down and causes you to quickly figure out what kind of person you really are deep down. You find out how strong you are physically, emotionally and spiritually.
For anyone fighting this disease, my advice to you would be to take it day to day. If you start thinking about how many more months or days you have to endure treatment, you will become very discouraged. The best thing to do is to just wrap your mind around on thing at a time. Don’t keep count of the procedures or treatments left because that will make the process drag on. The time will add up before you know it and another step will be behind you. Celebrate the victories as you go.
Most importantly, let your support system help. They really want to and it will help them understand and feel included. I personally struggled with this during my battle. I’m very independent by nature and I felt like I was a burden to others. I wish I had realized that my family and friends really did want to do things for me. They weren’t just offering to be polite. My friends and family, who were there to support me, went through the whole process with me. Allegedly, I wasn’t always the easiest patient to deal with and they were there for me from beginning to the end of treatment. It strengthened our bonds together. I can be a pain in the butt, I know! Thank God I have such great family and friends.
My cancer diagnosis really strengthened my relationship with God, as well. It’s funny how the worst time in your life can really turn out to bring some of the best results within. So if you need extra support, turn to God. God is the only one who can provide you with strength and wisdom. Pray as much as you possibly can. Talk to God about your fears and pains.
Get Your Rear in Gear means to take care of yourself! Get checked if you have any symptoms you are unsure of and make an appointment to see your physician. I had one symptom: very painful cramping in my stomach. When it worsened, I went to get checked immediately and cancer was found. So don’t put it off! This disease is so much easier to treat if caught early on. Literally get your butt to the doctor!