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Faces of Blue: Demetria Harding

Faces of Blue: Demetria Harding

At age 37, I was diagnosed with stage IIB colon cancer.

I had been experiencing abdominal pain for a couple of months, which got progressively worse. My physician was unsure of what was causing my symptoms and I was treated for gastric discomfort. One afternoon, the pain became unbearable and I made my way to the immediate care clinic. A CT scan was ordered and two masses were found.Faces of Blue: Demetria Harding

I was promptly scheduled for a colonoscopy which confirmed that I had colon cancer in my ascending and descending colon. I had no family history of the disease. I was tested for a genetic disorder called “Lynch Syndrome.” The test was negative and within two weeks of the diagnosis I underwent a subtotal colectomy.

My entire life had changed! I was a single mother of two boys, a daughter, sister, friend, and registered nurse, for over ten years. Now I am a cancer patient. My four day hospital stay turned into three long weeks. I had every complication imaginable, including uncontrolled nausea, vomiting, a bowel ileus, anaphylactic shFaces Of Blue: Demetria Hardingock, pneumonia, seizures, and dehydration. My laparoscopic surgery was just days from becoming an exploratory abdominal procedure to locate the root of my setback. However, prayer and a nasogastric tube were the solutions and I was soon sent home.

I was released from the hospital just days before my oldest son’s Beautilion ceremony. I was there with him on stage, in front of hundreds of attendees as a proud parent, despite how I felt physically. I spent six long months in chemotherapy, which had to be regulated often due to my sensitivity to the aggressive treatment. My youngest son would often stay with me as I received treatment. He always sat in the recliner with me. My 16 year-old son would drive me to my chemo appointments, faithfully. I had over ten medical appointments monthly, which were extremely draining.

Despite my illness I was able to attend my oldest son’s high school graduation and 18th birthday celebration. My Faces of Blue: Demetria Hardingcoworkers were awesome, and raised over $700.00 for me. Despite receiving such a devastating diagnosis, only five months after starting a new job, I remained employed for five years (even though I called in 70 times in one year, who gets away with that???) While I was off work I studied and passed my nursing board certification for rehabilitation nursing and completed the requirements for a Master’s degree in Nursing Management.

As I embark on the five year mark of cancer remission, I am reflecting on how blessed I am to have such a great team of physicians, friends, loved ones, coworkers, and my dog Potter! I have returned to full-time employment and I’ve chosen a rewarding career in hospice nursing. Everyday I look into the eyes of others who have been diagnosed with cancer and other terminal illnesses. I’m able to relate to their struggles and fears.

I’m a proud supporter of Get Your Rear in Gear, as a volunteer in Wichita, Kansas. This year I will run/walk with my own team. Today, I am 43 years-old and I celebrate life and health for all colon cancer survivors!!!

Return To Faces Of Blue Learn More About Colon Cancer Get Your Rear In Gear- Wichita, KS

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • Belinda Smith says:

    What an amazing and uplifting story about a genuinely beautiful young lady. Demetria, you are truly blessed. Congratulations on your 5th year anniversary and here’s to many more!

  • Stephanie Morford says:

    Sitting here in tears you story has truly inspired me. I know your an awesome nurse you tke care of my husband in Hospice. You are a true Angel. God bless you and your family.

    • Demetria Harding says:

      Thank you so much for such beautiful words! It is my pleasure to care for your husband and I really enjoy chatting with you! You are inspiring as well because your strength is so remarkable.

  • sheila teal says:

    Thank God there is nothing impossible with God. He answers prayers, somethings we go through things for his glory. He knew he could use you. Thank God for you and your boys.

  • Anthony King says:

    Keep pressing on. And be encouraged

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