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Survivor Story: Peg Hahn

Looking Good…Feeling Well….Send that cancer straight to Hell!!!

Hi…..I’m Peg, the Original Poop Princess and that’s my rally cry. My odyssey began seven years ago when I went in to have what I thought was my first routine colonoscopy. I was feeling great…better than I had in years….working 10-11 hour days and then exercising at the health club after work. (I’ve been a fitness fanatic for over 30 years). I had a ton of energy, and absolutely no symptoms or concerns. So as I was awakening from my “nap” and heard the word cancer, I assumed it was in regard to the elderly gentleman in the cubicle next to me. Surprise, surprise! And better yet, my cancer was already Stage 3. How could I feel so good, yet be walking around with Stage 3 cancer with no symptoms?

My story is long and involved, but suffice it to say that I had an unusual case with numerous complications that led to: six major surgeries, two different courses of chemo, six weeks of daily radiation, loss of 30 lbs. in about three weeks, the removal of more than a third of my digestive system (in various areas), severe dehydration that required an entire month of daily IV fluid infusions, a total of several months as a guest in the hospital, nearly three years of life with a colostomy, a week in the ICU,and two near-death experiences. The second was a very near-death experience. I knew I was close, because I felt a sense of overwhelming peace & joy that I can’t begin to describe. But emergency surgery on a Friday night, the grace of God, the skill of my fantastic medical team, and lots of frantic prayers saved my life.

Although I endured four and a half years of hell, and continue to live with chronic digestive and pain issues, I’m so blessed. I worked with some of the most talented and fantastic people, strengthened bonds with many family and friends, developed new life-long friendships, got to see my lovely daughter get married, am now the proud grandma of a beautiful little girl, can do most things that I want to do, and was declared cancer-free one year ago.

There also was an awful lot of humor along the way. Like the ostomy nurse who actually suggested I use a turkey baster to rinse out my colostomy bag after emptying it. I was emptying my bag ten times a day! Was I supposed to carry around a turkey baster in my pocket, brief case, or purse all the time? Sheesh!

Anyhow, I’m excited to participate in the “Get Your Rear in Gear” 5K Run/Walk event in Milwaukee (my hometown) on Oct. 15, 2011. I hope to meet lots of fellow Poop Princesses & Princes. And I’m really pumped that an event is scheduled for next August in Green Bay (my current home). Go Pack Go!!!

Best of luck to all patients and survivors. May God Bless All of You and Keep You in Good Health.

Hugs, Poop Princess Peg

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