Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. Check back here for health updates and to leave encouraging messages for Marijo and her family.
We would like to introduce you to our friend Marijo Wimbush. Always smiling and cracking jokes, Marijo is positive force influencing those she meets. You just feel better when she s around. She is very organized and helped run the Region III RID Conference a few years ago, and also coordinates interpreters for Deaf Days at Six Flags Great America every year. Marijo helps her husband Elliot in the church he pastors, and they do some performing for charity. She is one of the most inspirational individuals we have ever met. We have been so proud of Marijo as we have watched her weight loss journey, and then saw her train into this amazing triathlete. She has developed self-discipline and endurance skills that will help her to confront colon cancer head on, but she needs our help. Here is some of her story in her own words.
[Please visit the GoFundMe site under the icon "Ways to help" (purple icon like Journal), or copy this link: www.gofundme.com/cover-the-cobra-for-marijo?
My journey in prepping for my first colonoscopy screening started on Monday, March 26th 2018. I was required to drink a prepping solution, half of the prep the evening before the procedure, and the other half in the morning. It was not pleasant, but tolerable. I never want to eat or drink anything lemon flavored again. For me, the worst part was being required to drink the whole gallon when I felt full up to my ears.
The next day, I arrived at the GI Lab full and cleaned out, and as others have said, the actual colonoscopy was easy. When I returned to the recovery room, I noticed that the nurse was treating me different. As a medical sign language interpreter, I have interpreted many post-colonoscopy conversations. Most discussions include good news with instructions to come back in 10 years, but this was different. When the doctor came in to show Elliot and I the results, I was not being told to return in 10 years, as I fully expected, but that I had a LARGE mass in my colon that he suspected was cancer and that I needed to see a surgeon right away. WHAT??? You are not talking to me. I am healthy. I am a triathlete. There is no cancer in my family history. I have successfully lost 80 lbs and I now eat healthy (mostly). You can t be talking about me. But he was.
My primary doctor has been telling me since I turned 50 years old that I need to have a colonoscopy. I always told her I would get around to it. There was always some excuse; I can t afford to take time off work, I will get around to it there is no hurry, the prep tastes bad, I m young and have no symptoms. But, then some minor symptoms began to show up; blood in my stool for example, but I have hemorrhoids. My bowel movements started to change (I know TMI, but it is important)! These are all potential signs that something is not right. I pray that you learn from my lesson to schedule your colonoscopy, as it can save your life, like it is saving mine.
In January of 2018, I started a new full time position as a video relay sign language interpreter. I was so excited to finally have employer healthcare coverage for myself and my family. Unfortunately, 8 weeks into my job, the companies corporate office decided to close their Chicago call center and I, along with 45 other interpreter colleagues would were out of work on March 31, 2018. The last week of March was not a good week for me, but as I approach the beginning of my treatment journey,
I have many strengths and much support to help me keep moving forward.. I have trained for many races as a triathlete. My most challenging one so far was my Half Ironman race last July. This race included a 1.5 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and ends with a half marathon (13 miles). It was a tough race that challenged me to be my best and when I felt like quitting, I kept telling myself to keep moving forward, every step brings me closer to the finish line, and I DID cross that finish line.
As a Christian woman and the wife of a Pastor, I know that God doesn t give us anything we can t handle. I know that He is with me and I feel His love. My prognosis is good. My cancer is curable, but the journey to a cancer free body is long. Between radiation and oral chemotherapy, surgery and more chemotherapy, plus all the recovery time in between, the finish line will not appear until after January of 2019.
[please visit the GoFundMe site under "ways to help" icon for the rest of Marijo's story and information on how you can help.]