“Positivity” is the word that I have tried to live by since April 2013 when I was diagnosed with stage 3-colon cancer and six lymph nodes were affected. It all happened so suddenly and no major signs. I have lived with endometriosis for many years. For those of you who have as well there comes a point in your life that you just accept it and prepare for the next roller coaster month. I was blessed with two amazing boys and had hoped for a third but that was not in my future. Looking back, I believe that if I had become pregnant with my third child my cancer would have spread. By the time it would have been discovered, I am thinking it would have been a progressed stage 4.
My OBGYN told me it was time to consider a hysterectomy. The “signs” were being masked by my endometriosis. I was very anemic loosing lots of blood each cycle and had some light pain in my right lower abdomen, all common endometriosis symptoms. I finally told my OBGYN that I was ready. I also explained that I had some recent bloating “a new sign”. He was concerned that my endometriosis may have spread. Secretly, I think he suspected it was worse than just endometriosis. He said, “Get a colonoscopy and then we can do the hysterectomy.” Somehow I got into see my doctor the following day (someone had canceled their appointment) and I got preauthorization for the colonoscopy. While at the doctor’s office, they proceeded to say that a colonoscopy was normally for people turning 50. I was only 39. However, due to my OBGYNs request they would try and fit me in. This office only offered colonoscopies once a week and it was pretty booked for the next few months. Once again, higher power intervened and someone called while I was there and canceled their colonoscopy. The following week I went in.
Tip #1: Ask for the no flavor jug and have 7up right next to your 8oz glass. It helps to make it easier to handle. The whole procedure is not as bad as many people think. If I had to choose between colonoscopy and surgery/chemo, I would totally hands down choose colonoscopy. That is the power early detection can give you. I had surgery a month later at MDA (dual colon and hysterectomy). My doctors are amazing. They performed “Minimal Invasive Surgery (MIS)”. If you have to have surgery make sure you have a doctor that is highly trained in MIS. I believe this new advanced technology and skills made for a smoother and faster hospital stay and recovery. I then had twelve rounds of chemo after that.
Tip #2: Every port flush you should have a peppermint in your mouth. It helps with the nasty smell and taste. Chemo was tough but manageable and “Positivity” was the only way I made it through with a smile. I had things to live for, things I still wanted to do and I wasn’t going to let “Cancer” take me down.
Tip 3: Stay “Positive.” Surround yourself with nothing but positivity. This includes positive people. This is not the point in your life where you need any negativity.
Each day, I move closer to feeling cancer free. I would be lying if I said I don’t worry about it recurring from time to time. My doctors continue to monitor me closely and this helps ease the worry. Sometimes bad things happen. I may not have chosen this path, but I can choose how I am going to deal with the path I am on. I choose “Positivity.” I hope my story helps inspire you or someone you know to get checked and get educated about colon cancer.
Please… Get your Rear in Gear!