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Faces of Blue: Amanda Rolle

By March 3, 2016Faces of Blue

Colon Cancer. Stage IV. = Everyone’s worst fears. I still remember hearing the news, crushed and devastated that my mom would have to endure months and months of recovering from surgeries, chemotherapies, and numerous lab draws. As a RN, I have seen the worst of the worst, and of course my mind automatically turns to the worst-case scenarios. Not my mom though. She is a freaking ray of sunshine. Not only has she remained positive throughout the entire experience, she has endured over 2 years of intense chemotherapy, endured 2 major surgeries, had an awful allergic reaction to an antibody that left her face full of pus and scars, and has been asked by her oncologist to speak to other patients to brighten their days! My mom was diagnosed in 2012 with stage IV colon cancer. We have attended three Get Your Rear in GearĀ® Run/Walks and are overwhelmed with the amount of support we have received from our friends and family. It is now 2016, she is officially tumor free and off of chemotherapy! I always ask my mom, “Are you scared it is going to come back at each doctor’s appointment?” She always says, “I can’t live my life in fear. If it’s back, bring it on.”

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My mom is my BFF (Best Friend Forever). Everyone knows that her and I are one in the same. Although she has been through so much, she is always so positive and happy. It honestly is amazing how someone can go through so much and still never be grumpy or negative.

My first reaction was shock and fear. I knew that she had gone to the doctor and they found lesions on her liver (we kind of worked backward and found her metastases before her primary colon site). I had begun my first day on the pediatric oncology floor at my new job. I remember texting her and asking her how did the results go, and she should change the subject. I knew that she didn’t want to upset me at work and for my hour-long drive back home. Immediately that evening, I walked into the house and said, “You have cancer, don’t you?” And she turned to me and just said “yes”.

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Although I am a registered nurse (a pediatric oncology one), news always hits home differently. Although I knew the medical lingo and aspects of the treatment plan, it was hard to imagine this was now immediately impacting my family, MY mom. I remember my stepdad having to pull over on the side of the road on the way home from one of my mom’s first initial appointments because I was hyperventilating.

My mom’s slogan for her cancer has always been “live, love, laugh, & BELIEVE”. She always says that we can’t control when bad things happen but we can control our reactions and how we can overcome them. Myself, my brother, my stepdad, my aunt, and her closest friends (including my mom, despite my hesitation due to risk of infection grrrr) all have “believe” tattoos to always remember my mom’s life philosophy.

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“Get Your Rear in Gear” to me means taking control of your life and your colon. To many, including my family and my mom, her diagnosis was a shock. She was before the age of 50. We never thought in a million years she would be told she has Stage IV colon cancer after going to the doctor with “right sided pain” (her liver metastasis site). Getting your rear in gear means creating awareness of your health and your loved one’s health, and increasing screening! I am going next week for my first colonoscopy at the age of 26!

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Denyse Pashup says:

    Amanda, I have known your mother for a number of years and I’ve never seen her in a bad mood. I don’t think she’s capable of a bad mood. Your mom has ALWAYS been a ray of sunshine … a genuinely nice person and it’s hard not to adore her. When I heard her diagnosis, I was DEVASTATED because a Stage IV diagnosis is usually a death sentence. I wondered how this could happen to someone so amazing. Today, we don’t know that answer, but maybe someday we will know why she and your family were tested in such a way.

    I love the way you love your mom. As a mom myself, listening to you talk about the kind of person your mother is to you and the importance she holds in her life makes me want to be a better mom. Donna is supernatural!!!

    I am so happy to hear that your mom is tumor free. She deserves a FULL lifetime of her family, her friends and all that life has to offer her but the world deserves more Donna in it too!

  • Jamie sraga says:

    Your mom is a gem! Always a pleasure to see her at the shop and yes shes ALWAYS smiling! Having a fabulous daughter like you gave her the will to fight! And in my opinion the will to survive is all you need! You both deserve a pat on the back and one hell of a vacation! Its amazing the life lessons you learn while having to go through something like this and watching someone close to you fight the battle. My family went through it twice with my mom as well. If I could, I would take back all the pain and suffering my mom had to go through but I would never take back what it did to my family. We grew together, the battle was fought together, and we believed TOGETHER! Our appreciation for life is so much different now. It makes it so much easier to say *uck it! To the small miniscule daily annoyances of life and just be grateful. I’m thankful everyday to still have my mom in my life! I’ve been doing mammograms since I was 25 years old. EARLY DETECTION IS KEY! It’s amazing you guys are out there supporting and spreading the word! You just never know when it could hit close to home. #BELIEVE!!! XOXOXO!

  • Breyt says:

    Fantastic story about the power of attitude and the endurance of the human spirit. I’m very glad Donna is still around because the world needs more of the light she brings.

  • Sherri says:

    Thank you for sharing. Both you and your mom are beautiful. I am still struggling with why cancer is so common and it’s effecting people who don’t smoke like my mom who also was diagnosed with colon cancer. Like you I’m her cheerleader,brave when she is scared , counting down the chemo treatments and celebrating hair growth and her complexion returning. All the while I refuse to cry in front of her and secretly suffer panic attacks. I also have had trouble sleeping but I Pray…May God continue to bless both you and your mom.

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