Finding Love Through Colorectal Cancer


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Mike Mancini and Carole Motycka first crossed paths at Fight CRC’s Call-on Congress in 2019. They were both young, single colorectal cancer survivors. Their commonalities brought them together. 

Michael was 42 years old when he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in June 2017. Since then, he has undergone a colon resection, a temporary colostomy, twelve rounds of FOLFOX with Avastin, a colostomy reversal, a recurrence on his liver, an ablation on the liver tumor, a year of maintenance chemo, a three-month chemo break, a recurrence in his peritoneal cavity, and another twelve rounds of FOLFOX with Avastin. 

Carole was also 42 years old and a mother of four boys when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. “After I was diagnosed, I lost purpose, and the grief was overwhelming. I yearned for a community that understood what it felt like to be in the prime of life, the best shape ever, and be stuck with such a blow. I felt alone. I didn’t want anyone to experience that type of pain,” Carole told Fight CRC. “I knew I wanted to engage in a community of people who would listen, understand, and help me find my new purpose. I am a relentless champion of hope to lead people to this community, so they never feel alone.”

Today Carole and Mike reside together in Connecticut, and they are unstoppable when it comes to raising awareness for colorectal cancer. 

What is it like to both be survivors and caregivers for each other?

Mike: It's both comforting and challenging. You are with someone who has gone through this, so you can relate. But it's challenging because you understand what they are going through physically, mentally, and emotionally. So, it's a double-edged sword.

Carole: It definitely has pros and cons, as Mike has stated. We each understand at some level the sufferings and joys we both feel through our cancer. Mainly, I realize that we see things differently regarding our treatments, and I have learned that's ok. I can see him through treatments in a supportive way, much like being a life partner without cancer: as his support person, shoulder to cry on, person to experience the joy of life with, person to love. 

The support we can give each other by our keen awareness of the fragility of life is something he and I would not be able to replicate in any other circumstance, and I am blessed to be able to love and to be loved by him through the difficulties and the celebrations.

What are some of your favorite things about each other?

Mike: She's very thoughtful and caring. She is willing to help any person at any time. She loves the outdoors.

Carole: My favorite trait about Mike is his unwavering honesty and loyalty. We love sharing new experiences; Mike hasn't traveled a lot, and I have. I love showing him new places and finding new adventures. I love that he is up for any crazy idea I may have. 

I also know he loves me deeply, and he is my biggest fan. He also is an amazing cook and makes a mean lasagna.

How about annoying?! He is such a neat freak! He knows where everything is, and if anything is out of place, he knows immediately. I can't keep anything from him! LOL! 

Do you have any special Valentine's Day Plans?

Mike: Yes, we are going to cooking school together and making a 3-course meal from scratch.

Carole: It's my birthday and Valentine’s Day! Mike always has surprises for those days, but we really celebrate the entire month "Caroleuary." I loved it when he brought non-obligatory gifts home to surprise me last week. On Jan. 27th, he surprised me with a new latte and cappuccino maker and two dozen roses! We are topping off love month by flying to Arizona for The Cologuard Classic and some downtime. Michael rented a home near the course so we will enjoy some R and R!

What are some of your favorite things to do together?

Mike: Hiking, cooking, binge-watching tv, and advocating for Fight CRC

Carole: I mean, I do love our grocery trip adventures since our activities have been a little limited due to COVID-19.

In all seriousness, though, I love most things we do, from both of us being foodies and loving exploring new places for dinner to hiking and exploring all over. It's never a dull moment around here, and I enjoy simply being able to share this life with him no matter what that looks like.  We also love our advocacy mission for colorectal cancer and planning events for awareness/advocacy and fundraising opportunities. We are super competitive, and it's always a contest no matter what we do together!

Aw, how sweet! Thank you, Mike and Carole, for sharing with us. You're an inspiration to the CRC community and we're so glad you found each other!

Are You a Caregiver? We're here to support you.

Still looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other?

Check out our Relentless Care Pack for men and the Hope Care Pack for women.

2 thoughts on “Finding Love Through Colorectal Cancer

  1. My husband has battled CRC for 18 years. he has had numerous surgeries, resections, colostomy x 2 (with reversals), about 6 years ago he had Mets to the sacrum. underwent radiation and several rounds of chemo. Had Folfox in the past as well as Folfiri last year. Is currently on maintenance of 5 FU and leucovorin. Has anyone else had mets to the sacrum?

  2. Love you story and your strength! My husband and I have been going through stage IV cancer this last year. Mine is rectol cancer while is was a different kind. He did lose his fight with it six months ago. As 9f right I am cancer free, Your story gives me hope for a future and to get out and enjoy every minute. Stay strong and enjoy everyday!

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