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Melissa Tkachuk

Caregivers Stage IV Colon Cancer Canada
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Melissa's story

My husband Chad has stage IV colon cancer.

December 2, 2022: Tried to remove appendix laparoscopically due to chronic issues. It was calcified and surgeon told him it was a 1%-9% chance it could be cancer. We weren’t super concerned.

February 27, 2023: After battling chronic appendicitis since May 2022, he finally had his appendix removed.

March 9 2023, we went to see his second surgeon for a check up from the appendectomy, and he told us they found a tumour and removed 15 lymph nodes. Seven were cancerous.

He told us it was stage III and chemo would be done as “insurance” to ensure it’s all gone. That was eight days after his 40th birthday.

May 2, 2023: We met with an oncologist for the first time. She said it was in fact stage IV and incurable. Prognosis is two years minimum. Maximum could be anything right now.

Hoping and praying chemo works.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms included rectal bleeding or blood in stool, fatigue, and low iron.

Side effects

Side effects include fatigue, bowel irregularities, chemo induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), neuropathy, chemo brain, and distress or mental health issues/illness.

Melissa's advice

For those afraid to seek medical advice or a colorectal cancer screening: Do it. It could literally save your life. Forget about the awkward or embarrassing a part of it. They are health care professionals. It’s their job to help you.

Be kind to your caregiver / spouse. They will never know what you’re going through, and you will never know what they’re going through. Together, you can make it through.

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