In Jan. of 2000 I got my annual physical before leaving for Florida for some warmer weather. After arriving I experienced problems that sent me to the E.R.
They took x-rays and said I had an impaction, gave me some rubber gloves and told me to go home and dig it out. Was told to see a Dr. the next day. When I arrived at the Dr. found out she was a rheumatologist . She checked my reflexes in my ankle, knee, wrist & elbow then sent me on my way. So much for Florida healthcare.
We decided to come back to Louisville for another opinion. My longtime primary Dr. said it was ” probably just hemmorhoids”. Several months later went to a surgeon who scheduled me with an oncologist the next day He diagnosed me at age 60 with colorectal cancer & immediately started me on 6 weeks of radiation & chemo followed by surgery. I am happy to say the cancer was gone when they operated.
The day I went home I developed a fistula which sent me back to the hospital & resulted in 10 monthsof surgeries, Mersa, sepsis & numerous other setbacks. After repeated unsuccessful surgeries & serious infections I chose to have a permanent colostomy which is the best decision I ever made. Since then my life & that of my family has returned to normal.
The most important aspect of my treatment was first of all excellent DRS. & medical care but just as important was my Drs. sense of humor that kept my spirits way up, which looking back I felt was as important as the meds.
The most beneficial part of my experience was my husband’s care & concern & help during my re-cuperation at home. He took over everything & without him I don’t know what I would I done.
One important thing to remember if your Dr. ever tells you it’s probably just….. please get another opinon!
From my experience as a colon cancer survivor my best advice to newly diagnosed & their families is to face each day with faith, determination and most of all humor. You may say that humor minimizes the seriousness of cancer but don’t underestimate the power not only of prayer but also humor.
To family members try your best to control your emotions in front of the patient. The hardest part for me was seeing my husband & sons cry when I told them I had cancer. That was the only time I cried during my illness.
Always remember not to give up, keep fighting because tomorrow may be the day the cure is found.
If someone offers to help with food, cleaning or driving to appointments or just visiting so family members can get some respite take them up on their offer. Don’t try to do it alone – your family & friends really want to help.
The toughest thing for me was having my husband change my dressing & clean my open wound several times a day. I know it was the hardest thing for him.
Prior to my surgery my husband, Danny, had leg surgery & couldn’t drive. I am so proud & grateful to my sons for taking over & bringing him to the hospital everyday I was there from overnight to 30 day stays. I thank everyone who helped in someway , especially for all the prayers.
I have been involved with CCPP for about 15 years right after Dr. Whitney Jones organized it. There have been tremendous breakthroughs in diagnostics and treatment for colon cancer. It is one of the most preventable cancers today, but screening is a MUST! Just think if you encourage one person a week to get a colonoscopy you could be responsible for saving the life of 52 people a year. THINK ABOUT IT! THEN ACT!