I was diagnosed on June 18, '08 with Stage 4 colon cancer with mets to the liver and lymph. Since then, I've had 7 surgeries, 10 bouts of radiation and more than 125 rounds of chemo. It's been quite a ride and we are still going!
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I hope to use my experiences to help others going through similar challenges. Please let me know how I can help. Call or write anytime
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I have been asked many times how all this started. I thought I would include as much as I can for those interested. I've joked before that this isn't the "Fun" type of cancer to talk about because you have to use words like Colon/>/>, Rectum, and Bowel Movement etc. Therefore, I apologize in advance for the bio references below.
Around September-October 2007, I had noticed a little bit of, what looked to me to be, blood when having a bowel movement. Now, I know what you’re thinking. "Why didn't you RUN to a doctor right away?" In hind-sight, you're right. However, during that time, your mind rationalizes things. "I just rubbed too hard. It's probably just a hemorrhoid" or something like that. I also have to add that this one and only symptom came and went. I might go weeks between seeing or noticing the blood. I finally went in for a physical around December and mentioned the blood. They gave me a take home test to perform and return. Of course, I lost the first test and had to get a new one. I finally turned that one it and it tested positive for blood. After another exam from my primary doctor, he suggested that I go see a GI specialist. Not being overly excited to have another doctor examining me in my least favorite place, it took me a few weeks to schedule that appointment.
I had my examination with Dr. Cox in Grapevine at the end of May or first of June. He did another exam and said that he did see some hemorrhoids but could not tell where the bleeding was coming from and that he would like to perform a colonoscopy to check me out. The colonoscopy was performed on June 18th. Dr. Cox discovered the tumor in addition to a couple of polyps during that exam. He removed the polyps with no trouble. The tumor was right at the point where the colon attaches to the rectum therefore I had "Colorectal Cancer". The tumor was about 8cm long (almost 3 inches) by his measurements. About 5 inches of the colon and rectum had to be removed from the surgery.
Dr. Cox estimated that this cancer could have been growing in me for as long as 5 - 7 years! This is pretty amazing. Who would have thought...? I am now the self appointed "Poster Child" for getting a colonoscopy. Had I had one back when I was 35, this would have been a simple procedure of removing a polyp and that would be it. So, to all my friends or to anyone reading this.... go schedule a colonoscopy NOW! A prostate exam will NOT cut it. I had two prostate exams before this diagnosis and they did not catch it. The colonoscopy is really no big deal. You sleep through the whole thing. It's really worth the peace of mind.
That's about it. That brings me to June 18th when I had my colonoscopy that I wrote about in my journal.
It is my hope that those reading this will be motivated to have a colonoscopy soon. It would be very gratifying to me to know that someone caught a pre-cancerous polyp via a colonoscopy that I helped encourage thereby saving that person from what I am now going through. Please prayerfully consider my suggestion and take action.