My name is Regina Lassabe, I am a wife of a loving husband who I have been married to for thirteen years this September. I have 3 beautiful children and one in heaven. I am a full time student at Capella University attending to obtain my masters degree in mental health counseling as well as a full time mental health psychiatric care manager of a crisis intervention facility in my little community in which I live in, Centerville, Iowa.
About a year ago, I went to the doctor in regards to getting a scope done for my heartburn and a colonoscopy as I had blood in my stool. I thought I might have diverticulitis and I wanted to be sure. The surgeon even told me “you’re to young to have colon cancer, but we will do a scope to be sure.”
It was the day of the procedure and the doctor comes out to talk with my husband. He says to my husband, “The scope through the top looked good, so good I wasn’t going to do a colonoscopy, but I decided since she did the prep I better, and when I got in there it was like I had taken the wrong turn and every door was the wrong one.”
Of course at this point my husband asks what was wrong and the doctor said that he found numerous polyps and a large mass. The doctor removed the polyps but only took a piece of the larger mass to send off for tests. Now, I have no history of colon cancer in my family, but we do have other cancers in the family, such as breast and stomach cancer.
Two weeks go by and finally I had my diagnosis, it was colon cancer. I dread the word cancer at the age of 29, I was just complaining how I was getting old turning 30 now I was crying saying, “I’m only 29, I want to turn 30!”
I soon go in and have the mass removed and a few weeks later my oncologist says they want to be aggressive and decide to do a resection of my colon. Two months later I had my surgery.
The surgery was tough and recovery took longer than expected due to the infection, but it’s a small price to pay to be cancer free and to believe that I’m done. I get tested for lynch syndrome after my surgery and that comes back as negative. I’m told it was probably just a bad area in my colon and there should be no more worries.
Well here I am a year later staying on top of this and have my colonoscopy as of February 3, 2014 and they find more polyps and now diverticulitis. I wait yet again for those results for a positive or negative cancer diagnosis.
A week later I received good news and the polyps had no cancerous cells so I am still cancer free at this time. It sounds like I will have to have a colonoscopy every year probably for the rest of my life to avoid these polyps turning into colon cancer again. I was told I might need to do genetic counseling and possibly be a “test subject” as I have no explanation why my colon is producing these polyps.
So I sit hear telling my story as a survivor but my story doesn’t end yet. I was told recently that I just have the genetic makeup to make polyps, which can turn into cancer. For now I have to take it day by day and keep being proactive in my screening to hopefully prevent reoccurrence of colon cancer. I see my oncologist next month and hope to continue moving forward in my treatment/screenings and I plan to continue advocating for colon cancer awareness.
The biggest impact that this has on my support system and I is the constant fear that we will not catch the cancer in time. So my advice for anyone in the same situation as I, stay positive and keep positive supports around you. Always be open to crying, talking, and just holding one of your supports or even a pillow if you need to. I have started a “quotes” album in my social media that are life lessons and positive thoughts. This helps me get through the days as well, as those days you need a lift or pick me up to make you smile.
Get your rear in gear has taught me to on top of your treatment, your exams, and staying informed of all the new treatments out there that our available.