In 2016 Savanah Knight scheduled a colonoscopy, hoping only to find polyps that would be easily removed. Her mother had a history of polyps when she was in her 50s. When Savanah awoke from her colonoscopy, her doctor told her she had stage III colon cancer at the age of 45. “I was really in shock. I had no clue.” Savanah had rectal bleeding for six months that kept getting worse, but with no knowledge of colon cancer or a family history, she attributed the bleeding to the polyps.
Once diagnosed, chemotherapy and radiation started right away. The chemo was so strong that Savanah burned inside and out. “I spent over 100 days in the hospital. I had a colostomy, but it failed.” It wasn’t until May of 2018 that Savanah found a rectal surgeon to properly attach a colostomy bag, which made life easier. “I was miserable and in pain. I could barely leave the house without having a bathroom within two feet. But since I’ve gotten my colostomy, it’s been amazing. Quality of life is so much better.”
Savanah’s journey has been difficult, but she was surrounded by great support from everyone around her. Her mother was present at the diagnosis. Her mother and best friend took turns taking her to every treatment and doctor appointment. “I had a great team from the moment I was diagnosed. When I transferred my treatments closer to home, within the next week I started chemo and radiation and they had a treatment plan ready to go.”
Working as an instructor at Carl Albert State College, Savanah took a year off after her diagnosis, but fortunately her colleagues donated their sick days. “I never had to go without a check, so I had insurance and everything. They were constantly sending me care baskets, gas cards, or gift certificates. It was pretty amazing.”
The college has been a great platform for Savanah to bring awareness to getting screened and educated. After finding the Colon Cancer Coalition online, Savanah ordered pamphlets to put into all the staff and faculty mailboxes. “When my colleagues come to me about what they’re going through, I tell them my story so they can make their own decisions.” Her entire family went to get their colonoscopies. “They’re not happy about it, but they do it.”
“People think it’s so scary but it’s not. If you’re feeling the symptoms and you think something’s wrong, go to the doctor. Don’t wait. I was so young when I was diagnosed. I just think younger people should get checked.”
Below is a poem written by Savanah’s friend.
As best as I can remember, it was around mid December 2016.
What should have been the happiest time of the year!
A trip to the clinic, surely easy as a picnic, turned into her greatest fear.
Vibrant and very much alive about to turn 45. The worst diagnosis was rendered.
She had been through a melee, her dues had been paid fully tendered.
The first of the year, not much to cheer, lying in total fear. What would occur?
Two little ones depending on her, she could wallow in self pity traveling from city to city or she could stand and FIGHT, with people standing in her corner. Giving a lot of love and a lot of help from the man above.
This became her plight.
Though it hasn’t been easy she never backed down!
Her friends and family praying and rallying around with the determination of a ballet dancer, she has fought like a LION and DEFEATED CANCER!
As things get back to normal, we won’t forget how a wonderful women defied the odds and made the bet.
She will get back to her family and teaching too because because being a wife, a MiMi, and teacher are the things she really loves to do.
Through it all, she is my friend, the best one I ever had. She knows I love her just a tad.
Get well soon is about all I have left to say. We will eat BBQ together sometime soon, just not today.
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