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Faces of Blue: Lauren Kehl

By October 12, 2016Faces of Blue
Lauren and daugter in hospital bed.

Lauren flexing in hospital bedFor an entire year I ignored the pain in my stomach. I bushed it off as symptoms from Crohn’s disease. I was never a fan of going to the doctor, and I wasn’t going to start going now. After all, I was 31-years-young. What could possibly be wrong with me? Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. The pain and sickness was one thing, but I was so tired I couldn’t function. I was struggling at work and I was struggling at home with my then 5-year-old daughter. So I went to the doctor.

I’ll never forget the way the doctor looked at me after my scan results were in. He had a look of panic mixed with sadness in his eyes. He scheduled me for a colonoscopy and it was then that I got the news. I had cancer. Not only did I have a tumor in my colon, but I had a very large one on my liver. I was stage IV and was told surgery was not an option for me. I was given 6 months to “maybe” a year to live.

I started on an intense regimen of chemo (a combination of both standard colon cancer regimens, FOLFOX and FOLFIRI with Avastin) with the hopes that the liver tumor would shrink enough for surgery. The chemo wiped me out. I lost all my energy, was sick all the time, and my long blonde hair was now the contents of my bathroom garbage can. So many days I cried that I wanted to give up. But I’m a mother and life isn’t about me, so I kept fighting for my daughter.

Lauren in hosptial after liver resection.After 9 rounds of chemo I received the news I was hoping for – I was ready for surgery! I had 65% of my liver removed in what was the most painful experience of my life. My amazing surgeon delivered the news to me that he removed all cancer from my liver. Colon surgery was next, and compared to liver surgery it was a walk in the park. I was cancer-free.

I was getting ready to return to my teaching job that I so dearly missed. My life was going to be mine again. Then I received more bad news. There were 5 new tumors on my liver. My cancer came back in full force after only a month. So it was back to chemo.

The fight is still on. I am currently going through a chemo regimen that is much easier on me. I still have my days of pain and sickness, but I also have good days. On those good days I embrace life as much as I can. I am responding well to chemo. Everything is shrinking and my numbers get better each cycle. Cancer is not a death sentence. Cancer will not take me away from my daughter. I will win!

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • JJ Singleton says:

    Love your story as a young fighter of colon cancer that returned after I thought I was cancer free you are a inspiration

  • Eileen Seeger says:

    YOU KEEP FIGHTING! Everyday is a gift and from one Stage IV to another- never, never, never give up! Miracles Happen and you are one of them. E

  • F says:

    Your story is very inspirational! Gives me hope as I will be taking on a similar fight. Keep fighting and don’t give up. Praying for miracles!

  • Aliscia says:

    I just prayed for you after reading your story and I want to thank you for posting this. I just got the call back after my surgery in September that the cancer is back. I praise god it has not moved over to any place besides my lymphnodes. I will have to have chemo and the oncologist who told me today was not positive to me. My amazing surgeron told me he will fight this with me to my last breath. I’m a mother of two beautiful girls ages 13, 10 and my beloved husband I fight for them and will not stop. I am a teacher too and was getting ready to go back to work in March and now I see it will be a bit longer. Your story is amazing and YOU give me hope! Thank you ! My email is amkrecisz@gmail.com if you ever need to talk. Thanks again for your courage! We will survive no other option

  • Casey says:

    I never know what to say when someone is in your position. The “sorry’s” and “I’ll pray for you’d” and other words are helpful, but come pouring in so much that it all becomes so blinding when all you want is just to freaking live. What are the right words to show true appreciation, sorrow, empathy and compassion? I’m not sure if there is any. But I am sorry…and I will think about you…and I will send all my love and energy to you, because it’s all I know how to do.

  • Behrooz says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your story is quite inspiring to me, having recently gone through one cancer removal surgery. How about you and me make a pact: Let us fight cancer with all that we have, not only for ourselves but also for those whom we love so dearly. It is well worth it. I will pray for you, and you for me. Once again, thank you so very much for sharing your story.

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