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Faces of Blue: Shannon Petrick

ShannonPetrickphoto 1“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.

Shannon is a firm believer in positivity!

Shannon is a firm believer in positivity!

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!

Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Nancy DeConcini says:

    You are awesome sweet girl. And even more awesome for sharing your story!!!

  • Catherine says:

    Thank you for being there in person with me as I now travel this journey as well. It’s good to have Internet friends to give advice but putting an actual face and hug to a real survivor makes me believe I can do it. I agree that drive has a lot to do with recovery. Our children need us.

  • Diane Hackem says:

    That’s our Shannon! Always laughing, always positive and definitely an inspiration to us all. God will continue to watch over you. All my love.

  • Annette Lucksinger says:

    I’ve been wearing my “Positivity” bracelet all this week now that summer is over, and I think of you all the time. I’m sending you positive vibes, but I have to admit, YOU give me energy and the reminder to have a positive attitude, lady!

  • Sally says:

    So proud of you. You are a brave, strong inspiration to all of us. Love, s

  • Teresa says:

    I just read your story and I must say, I thought that I was reading my own story. I am 49 years old and a single mom of a twelve year old boy. I to have been battling endometriosis for about twenty years. On June 9th of this year I was taken to the ER with constipation. I found out that I had stage three colon cancer with 5 lymph nodes affected. Today I had my 6th chemo treatment. Halfway there. Peppermint doesn’t work for me with the smell and taste. Today I tried lemon Jolly ranchers. Worked much better! There has been several setbacks along the way. But I will NOT let Cancer dictate my life! I have to much on my bucket list and I insist on watching my son graduate from college and hold my grandkids some day!

    Your story has inspired me. Thanks for sharing!

    • Shannon says:

      I just read your story. I know you have been through a lot. I am glad you had the strength to reach out. That is hard to do. If you wish to talk more or if I can help in any way please do send me an email. You do not have to go through this alone. Together … We can make it and together we can make a difference. Try to stay positive. Hope to hear from you. Shannon

  • john Lino ponzini says:

    Thank you

  • Nestor Silva says:

    Shannon is truly my guardian angel! Truly blessed & very grateful to be her friend!

    Million thanks my friend for being there for me! Will be forever grateful to you!

  • Sarah Besikof says:

    Shannon you are an inspiration! I want you to know what a difference you made for me and my daughter when she was going through treatment. Your words of encouragement and positivity Nd the beautiful bracelets we still wear today gave us hope and for Brooke a role model of someone who got through it and was thriving. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. May you continue to be healthy and touch others lives in such an important way! Xo Sarah

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