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.