Patient / Survivor
Lincoln Park, New Jersey
I was diagnosed in July 2013 with stage IV at 59 years old. I had no symptoms until two days before when I had a pain in my right side. I do not remember very much, since I was rushed into surgery the next day to have a colon resection.
After six days in intensive care, I was released with five remaining spots on my liver. My next stop was to see an oncologist. I have received over 30 rounds of IV chemo over the last 3.5 years.
In 2014, I had surgery on my liver, using a newer procedure called the nano knife, to remove cancer that was near a vein to my heart and could not be cut out.
Over the last year I was on an IV drug, CPT 11, that really did help. However, as the treatments progressed, the harder it was for me to handle them without getting sick for up to six days. I am currently on an oral pill, which seems easier to allow me to maintain a good quality of life. It might sound trivial, but one of the hardest parts has been losing my hair three times.
I have faced the fact that I will be on some form of drugs for the rest of my life. The sad part is that this is a disease that can be prevented and cured with early detection, and my goal has always been to bring awareness to the importance of getting a colonoscopy to others.
I feel lucky that I have a husband and children, an extended family, and friends who have been by my side during this journey. That has been a key factor with dealing with this disease.
I know that it is easy to tell someone to stay strong, however sometimes with everything that you are going through it can be difficult. Chemo not only affects you physically, it affects you mentally also. I stay positive and face each day with a good attitude.
(Psychosocial health and reaching out for support is so important during a diagnosis click here to find more information on psychosocial health.)
I appreciate things that I never really did before. I talk about my disease to others. I have a bucket list of “firsts” and I think the best thing I did was to go back to work and get out there everyday.
I decided from the beginning that I was not going to let this disease control me or get me down. And most of all you have to believe!