This is a guest blog written by Kathleen Overy, a 2018 Fight CRC Ambassador.

My husband Jay had finally scheduled his first routine colonoscopy. On the way to the appointment we were laughing and joking about how hungry we were and deciding where we would eat his procedure. I also did clear liquid diet the day before to be supportive.

I kissed him good luck as he was taken back for the procedure. Neither of us prepared for what happened next.

The doctor called me back after his procedure and said, “You’re a nurse, right?” “Yes,” I replied. At the time I was not sure why he asked. He proceeded by showing me photos of Jay’s procedure explaining that he had a 5cm mass that was most likely to be adenocarcinoma, polyps or a hemorrhoid.

I did not hear anything after the word, “tumor.” I was having an out of body experience.

I had an internal conversation with myself  and was flooded with questions! “Can he remove the mass? now?” “Has it spread anywhere?” “How do I tell our kids?” “How do I tell him?” “What if…..?”

The entire experience was horrible to say the least! When my husband woke up from the procedure I was crying, which is something rarely do. The doctor wanted me to tell him the news, but I was unable to speak. The doctor eventually told him about the tumor. I have been a nurse for 26 years and when Jay looked at me for answers, I was kicked into action.

In January 2018, he had surgery to remove the mass, ileostomy and an ileostomy reversal. There were complications in-between, but we got through it. We are extremely blessed to have caught Jay’s cancer early. We also feel lucky that we had connections, insurance and a great surgeon, but most importantly we had each other!

This type of cancer is a number 2 cancer killer among men and women and is 90% curable if caught early!

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” – Benjamin Franklin.

Jay and I have become Fight Colorectal Cancer Ambassadors to advocate for screening, awareness, access to care and advocacy! We are ready to fight right alongside our fellow ambassadors!

Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Jay and I feel that his rectal cancer has given us the opportunity to get involved with Fight CRC and to help make change. Being surrounded by others who have also been impacted by this disease has allowed Jay and I to know that we are not alone in this fight. Thank you Fight CRC for allowing us to gain 30 friends for life!

We know that together we can make a difference. We can push for greater patient awareness, for more active involvement from the medical community and better care for those affected by this terrible disease.

Check out the #CRCAmb18 feed on Twitter!

See all the photos from the 2018 Ambassador Training Program!

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2 comments on “The Ambassador Experience”

  1. 1
    Nancy Levesque on March 11, 2019

    Julie, we’re so sorry to hear that your son is in the fight. Fight CRC connects survivors and families with others facing the same. If you’re interested, you and/or your son can connect online via our Facebook groups (https://www.facebook.com/groups/AdvocatesFightCRC/). We also have our resource library (https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/fight/library/).

    Your family can also call our patient line. The Cancer Support Helpline (1-888-793-9355) assists patients as well as their friends and family with a variety of cancer-related concerns, providing short-term counseling and referrals to local community resources.

    Let us know how else we can help.

  2. 2
    Julie Lantagne on March 9, 2019

    My son is 34 and fighting the battle of his life, colon cancer metastasis to his liver. It has been a difficult road, 18 chemo sessions, many hospitalizations and all the other nasty stuff that goes with this ugly disease. Feel alone a lot of the time, us (parents) and him, as affliction at this age is not common. We are helping him fight his battle right now and am not sure what I am seeking out at this time but was very impressed by this blog and the good things that are happening. He is not a very social young adult but can’t help feeling like if he were to have contact with others his age it might ease things for him a bit so maybe I am looking for help with that if there is such a thing. Also interested in the logo appeal I see in the pics.

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