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Survivor Story: Shawn Weeks

Shawn & Renae Weeks Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Shawn & Renae Weeks
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

It all started around Christmas 2006. Shawn started to show signs of being ill. Late one night I drove him to the hospital, the attending physician could not properly diagnose him except to say it was possibly gastritis. After prescribing some antibiotics he sent us home.

A month later at the end of January he was still sick with the same symptoms only this time he went to our family doctor. Unfortunately, the doctor did the same thing as the physician at the hospital–gave him some antibiotics and time off work. Then just two weeks later the middle of February Shawn went back to our family doctor, this time the doctor did some illness tests only to have the results come back negative. He then decided to send Shawn to a gastroenterologist in March.

The day finally came for Shawn’s appointment, he told the gastroenterologist of his symptoms, the gastroenterologist decided to do an endoscopy for Shawn’s heartburn and a colonoscopy. The gastroenterologist made all the arrangements and notified us when it was time. In early May 2007 I drove my husband to the hospital for the procedure, by 11 a.m. that morning we found out my husband had stage two colon cancer.

Since his colon was already cleaned out, the gastroenterologist wanted to do surgery to remove the cancer from his colon, the surgery was scheduled for noon the next day. We soon found out the surgeon removed 18 inches of my husband’s descending colon, the cancer was the size of a lemon. He was in the hospital for one week before being released.

A week later he went to the surgeon’s office to have the stitches removed, a week after that he went to the oncologist to confirm the cancer was indeed gone. The oncologist said that because all the cancer had in fact been removed he felt Shawn would not benefit from chemo/radiation so they chose no treatment at this time. Even though he was fine we were afraid the cancer would return so for a year we were afraid. May 2008 he went back to the hospital for his yearly scope and this time received good news there were no signs of cancer, so far.

About a week after his return home we were sitting on the couch, I told my husband I wanted to write a book about what happened. I got up, went to my computer, sat down and started typing. No brainstorming, no notes or anything, just started typing. It took me a year to write it, my husband helped me with the cover. My book is titled Cancer @ 38. It talks about our life from 1991 (when we met) until 2008 (his yearly scope). As a result of what happened to my husband I became an advocate for colon cancer. I became a member of several organizations, namely the Colon Cancer Coalition, American Cancer Society, Colon Cancer Alliance, and the Colorectal Cancer Coalition.

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Niurka Cristobal says:

    I am 38 years old and just got diagnosed with colon cancer stage 3b. I was misdiagnosed for about 2 months as the doctors thought that I had a ruptured appendix. The tumor was growing in between my appendix and small intestine. After surgery to remove the abscess (the surgeon happened to be an oncologist surgeon) and some of the intestine that he thought did not look right I was given the news that it was colon cancer. The surgeon removed everything, but out of 12 nodules 2 showed cancer activity so I will need chemo. I have a pet scan next Friday to make sure it has not spread to any other place. I am hoping for good results. I should start my chemo is a few weeks. This is such a life changing event. Life will never be the same. I was just diagnosed so I am still in the stage that I can’t believe this is happening to me. Reading all these success stories is so motivating. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you and your husband all the best. Hoping after my chemo I will also be cancer free. I have two small children that need their mom. God bless.

    • Rosemarie Yumang says:

      Thank you for sharing, I am from the Philippines, my older brother was diagnosed with colon cancer i don’y know the stage but his doctor said he need to undergo operations as soon as possible. We dont have enough fund for his operation. The reality that life of my brother depends on the money breaks my heart. I’m praying that miracle will come to my brothers life.

  • Doug Corbett says:

    Good luck to you!
    My life has been spared – I survived the scare – though it is a life-changing event.
    Taking time to be with my children and wife really helped, though having a plan to help others took my mind off what I was going through.
    Thank you notes, visits to others, and forgetting about the cancer has helped a ton.
    After all of this – I remind myself every day that a little more time with those we love makes it all worth it. Maybe I was the one who needed the wakeup call, or maybe it was someone who knew me. Either way, it has been a good reminder to take time for others.

  • Carrie says:

    Thanks for sharing with us. God bless you!! One of my friends was diagnosed this past August with stage 3 Bowel cancer, I am happy that she is cancer free. http://colorectalsurgeon.sydney/

  • Rosemarie Yumang says:

    Thank you for sharing, I am from the Philippines, my older brother was diagnosed with colon cancer i don’y know the stage but his doctor said he need to undergo operations as soon as possible. We dont have enough fund for his operation. The reality that life of my brother depends on the money breaks my heart. I’m praying that miracle will come to my brothers life.

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