I am my parent’s youngest child with two older brothers. I am a single mom of three children, my favorite thing in life! I sold real estate in my hometown for 25 years working for my mom, my mentor, and my hero. When diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer my mom and I both retired, me at age 45 and her at 69. The focus was on the huge battle ahead, but more importantly the stability of my children, doing our best that their lives stay some what the same.
My father was diagnosed ay 76 with colon cancer, two years after me. His mom died at 76 of cancer (not sure of the kind). My father lost his niece at age 13 and brother at age 69 of leukemia. No cancer on my mom’s side.
I was having bathroom issues for about a year, nothing crazy, some cramps, constipation, diarrhea, nothing that I didn’t have an excuse for. My period, maybe menopause, something I ate; you get it. Six months prior to being diagnosed, it got worse I was doubled over in pain, exploding from both ends. Three times I went to ER and three times I was sent home with a stomach virus. Finally I found a doctor who ordered a colonoscopy, sure enough cancer.
The colonoscopy showed cancer in the sigmoid colon, than the ultrasound found my ovaries were engulfed in cancer. The biopsy was positive for cancer in my liver. All spreading from the original sight; the colon. I received treatment at St. Peter’s New Brunswick New Jersey from Dr. Sameer desai (oncologist ), Dr. Zinkin (colon surgeon), Dr. Ushma Patel (gynecology), Dr. Gribbons (radiologist), and many more to come.
I had a full hysterectomy, a colon resection, and RFA on my liver. My port was put in and chemo was started. I had 14 treatments and had one year of NED.
My family, friends, and entire community came to my aid. I was overcome with support, and as I am still fighting four years out, they are still here for me and especially my children. I had three reoccurrences that came with many more surgeries, chemo and radiation.
My life is good, but spent a lot at home. I don’t take many meds. I took pain killers after surgeries and nausea meds when needed. The only thing missing was the ability to make an income like I used to. I am only collecting social security, I am grateful, but $1350.00 a month is not much, but with the support from family and friends we squeak by.
The biggest challenge is the financial burden. Hospital bills, well heck let me just say cancer is expensive and limits you from making money, at least in my case. Also keeping that strong face, never allowing fear in my children’s face. Hiding my fear.
My words of wisdom for others is “Hope”, doctors can do so much. Your positive attitude is part of the battle. Educate yourself about the disease; talk to people, like support groups you will learn a lot. Surround yourself with happy people. No stress. Always spending as much good time with my children. When I am not feeling so well, the kids are always kept busy, they see some of the suffering but at a minimal.