Colon Cancer Survivor Stories

439

Colon Cancer Survivor Now Works as a Cat Tribe Manager

Colon Cancer Survivor Now Works as a Cat Tribe Manager

“This too shall pass”

Lana Bauwens was diagnosed with colon cancer when she was 29 years old. She has successfully defeated her disease. She works as a Cat Tribe Manager.

The Diagnosis

“When I was 29 years old. The diagnosis was weird. It wasn’t like in the movies. A moment with dramatic music where you could see me crying and processing the news. It came in bits and pieces. The doctor never said the word cancer. He talked about the tumor and it being big. He talked about it being benign and that it hadn’t spread. So it was only later that I started to realize that it was cancer.”

The Journey

Colon Cancer Survivor Journey
“For about 6 months I was in pain. I was tired and lost an extreme amount of weight, although I didn’t realize that at the time. I went to see several doctors, but they all said it was stress. So I didn’t worry. When the pain became too much, that’s when they noticed something weird. But nobody was really worried including myself. I even went to work that day, thinking it was something minor. A weekend passed when my doctor called on Monday to tell to go straight to the ER. The doctor in the ER was amazed that I was still standing. But I was used to the pain and how I felt, so it didn’t feel so abnormal at the time. It was only when the doctor weighed me that I was shocked: 45kg (I’m 1m75). I got admitted and the planned the surgery, but we’re afraid that my body was too weak to handle the surgery. So they gave me an IV with food and fluids to get my body stronger. A week went by with more complications before they operated. When I came out of surgery I knew it was bad. My body was way too weak. For 2 whole days I was convinced I was going to die. They told me it was a tumor of 10 cm and that it hadn’t spread. They had taken out most of my colon, but I had enough left for my body to function and heal. My luck was that the tumor had grown so fast. That’s why it hadn’t spread through the colon wall. The doctor decided not to do chemo and radiation. I was so happy about that, but the recovery from the surgery wasn’t easy. My body had trouble healing. I stayed in the hospital for another week. When I finally got home, things went wrong. I got a fever and the worst pain I’ve ever had in my life. An ambulance brought me back to the hospital. I had a complication and had to stay in the hospital for another week. The recovery went really slow. And I had another complication a few months later.”
 
Motivation to fight cancer
 
“Those days after the surgery I could feel life slipping out of me. There were moments I really believed that that was it. So when I started to heal I remembered my dream to start a non-profit to help cats. I started to work on what later would become “DreamCATchers” and it gave me a goal. A purpose. That was what got me through.”
 
Biggest hindrance
 
“Accepting that my body would never be the same again. I kept believing for a year that my body would return to “normal”, only after a year did I realize that my body would never be like before. Once I accepted that, things started to pick up. 2 years after the surgery I was diagnosed with BRCA. So I decided that children wouldn’t be an option. Saying goodbye to my dream of having a biological child was hard. I grieved a lot and felt broken for a long time.”
 
Message to other cancer patients
 

“Picture yourself in the future, doing the thing you love. That’s what kept me going. Imagine yourself being everything you want to be and hang onto that image. It will make you feel better, give you something to fight for and help you set your mind to something. And trust your body. Even though it has let you down right now, it will protect and carry you through. It has an amazing power to heal. I might be slow, but it will heal. And once you stop holding on to what you believe is healthy and strong, your body finds great ways to make you healthy and strong again. There are many things that my body can no longer do, but each time I do yoga, I’m amazed at what my body can do. How strong it is and how well it recovered. It just takes time. Give it time and don’t hang onto expectations. Except what is in front of you and enjoy the moments that you have right then and there. And have faith. Above all believe that everything will be alright, even when things might not look that way. Just believe.”

Stage 3 Colon Cancer Survivor Is Now A Fitness Enthusiast

Stage 3 Colon Cancer Survivor Is Now A Fitness Enthusiast

“Everyone has a story. Cancer tried to end my life story. I decided to write another chapter.”

John was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2011. He has now successfully won his fight against cancer and lives a healthy life. He likes fitness-related activities like working out in a gym, running, etc. and encourage other fighters to follow the same path.
 
The Diagnosis
 
“I was diagnosed December 2011. A large mass was found during a colonoscopy on the right side of my colon, stage 3 colon cancer.”
 
The Journey
 
colon cancer survivor journey
“My family had strong evidence of hereditary colon and stomach cancer. I lost two siblings to these cancers, both were in their early thirties. My mother had colon cancer twice and breast cancer once. Fortunately, she continues to do well! Under the advice of a doctor, it was recommended I have a colonoscopy since I was the oldest sibling of ten siblings. I had my first colonoscopy in my late thirties and continued this screening every 2-3 years on my own. The doctor’s recommendation was doing another in 8 years after my first procedure. I did not feel comfortable with that length of time since my family did not know what condition we had. I was in my third year from the last colonoscopy when cancer was found. The cancer was removed the same day and I developed a life-threatening infection. After a couple of months of infection treatment, my gastroenterologist advised me to see an oncologist. After listening to my family history, my oncologist strongly recommended I have a genetic test done for Lynch syndrome and also recommended I do six months of chemo treatment. I recall asking my oncologist, “What are we going to do if cancer comes back.” He replied, “It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when”. Having a genetic high-risk cancer condition, my risks are at a 50% chance of developing another cancer. So it is critical I stay on top of my surveillance program. After completing chemotherapy treatment, I was contacted by a nonprofit organization that advocates for hereditary cancers such as Lynch syndrome. I have been involved with this organization for about seven years as Board Member Tribal Liaison. Being Native American, my heart goes out to all people of all cultures and races whose families may be affected by this genetic condition including Native Americans. My desire is to help inform people if they have a suspected hereditary cancer condition they should seek genetic counseling or proper screening.”
 
Motivation to fight cancer
 
“After seeing my siblings, mother and other families suffer from cancer, I am thankful for the healthy body I have now. Even though I still have a 50% chance of having cancer again, I am determined to help as many people as possible! I am reminded of the days during chemo treatment I could not walk to the restroom. I remember seeing patients carried in for treatment. It broke my heart. When my chemotherapy treatments were complete, I developed some strength to walk. The walks were short but in time for longer. It was during one of my walks with my wife I just felt like running. I had a Forrest Gump moment, “that day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.” LOL! Since then I haven’t quit running! I now run half marathons”.
 
The biggest hindrance
 
“Doctors and insurance! So frustrating with the obstacles of seeing the right doctors with the proper knowledge and insurance authorizations. I lost two siblings by these two issues. I was very fortunate to have doctors who saw the signs and were knowledgeable by my genetic condition and expedited my medical care. It saved my life!”
 

Message to Other Fighters

Message for cancer patients
“I’m here for you… I struggle with what to say even though I’ve been there. I just want to be there for them”.

Colon Cancer Survivor Shares Her Inspiring Story

Colon Cancer Survivor Story
“You can fight this, there’s no other option!”
 
Julie was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer in April 2016. She has now successfully defeated her disease and now lives a healthy life with her family.
 
The diagnosis
 
“I get asked ALL. THE. TIME. What my symptoms were that lead me to think something was wrong. People are always surprised that ‘someone so young’ has rectal cancer. I was diagnosed at age 36 in April 2016. I was having pain after bowel movements which eventually led to a colonoscopy which found the tumor. On Monday, April 4, 2016, Chad, Quinn and I went to Home Depot to buy some new plants. It had now been about 2 weeks since my biopsy was done. We knew it would take some time to get the results but then my doctor was out of town too which delayed things a bit more. We were in the Home Depot parking lot, loading our car when the doctor called with the results of my biopsy. She said that the results surprised her, they weren’t what she expected. Ok, is this good? Is this bad? She said that the biopsy came back as adenocarcinoma. ‘It is cancer’. Well, that took the breath right out of me”.
 
The Journey
 
Colon Cancer Survivor's Journey
Right after my diagnosis, right before treatment began-Mother’s Day 2016 “It’s been a rollercoaster. I participated in a clinical trial to hopefully avoid surgery (a permanent colostomy) which meant I did radiation while taking chemo pills for 6 weeks, followed by 16 weeks of IV chemo. I had one year of clean scans before some cancer cells were found during a follow-up colonoscopy. So that meant surgery which I had in February 2018.”
 
Motivation to fight against cancer
 
“My family was my greatest motivation for fighting cancer. They kept me going when I wanted to give up.”
 
The biggest hindrance
 
“The biggest hindrances for me were definitely the side effects of treatment. They wear you down & make you exhausted not only physically but mentally too.”
 
Message to other cancer patients
 
Message for cancer patients
“My message to other cancer patients is to take things one day or even one hour at a time. Also, know your limitations & put your focus on what’s most important to you. Everything else can wait.”

Stage 2 Rectal Cancer Survivor Is Now Raising Awareness

Stage 2 Rectal Cancer Survivor
 
“Live, Love, Laugh and repeat because life is fragile! Celebrate every win and create your own happiness!!”
 
Kimberly Coleman was diagnosed with Stage 2 Rectal Cancer on 24th July 2015. She has successfully defeated her disease. She is actively raising Colorectal Cancer Awareness.
 
The Diagnosis
 
She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Rectal Cancer on 24th July 2015, after Colonoscopy.
 
The Journey
Stage 2 Rectal Cancer Survivor's Journey
“My journey with cancer has been one of discovering how beautiful life is and how important community and support are to all patients. I have learned to live in the moment and slow down. It’s brought me deeper relationships and I’ve also lost some relationships. I never imagined that I would be thankful for all of the incredible gifts fighting cancer has given me!”
 
Motivation to fight cancer
 
“My family “
 
Biggest hindrance
 
“I almost died after my first round of 6weeks of oral chemo/33 radiation treatments on 11/11/2015. After having emergency surgery and being in the hospital for 10 days, I was able to leave with a colostomy and a walker. I had physical therapy for 6 weeks and had two walkers. As I was beginning my 2nd round of 6months of chemo, my Mom passed away. There were many financial stresses, but my hubby of 19 years was my biggest supporter and worked around the clock as my caregiver while caring for our 3 kiddos and holding down a full-time job which was not sympathetic to our situation in the least. Yet, we did it together, as a team and a family. We are grateful to God for bringing us through every battle together.”
 
Message to other cancer patients
 
Message for cancer patients
“Become stronger in your faith, whatever that is, set goals after treatment is done(I set a goal to run a Rugged Maniac 5k 2months after I stopped chemo) find a purpose greater than yourself to help take the stress and fear away, surround yourself with uplifting and positive people, laugh a lot, dance, pray, cry and dream!!!”

Colon Cancer Survivor Now Rides A Bicycle To Spread Awareness

Colon Cancer Survivor Now Rides A Bicycle
“During my cancer journey, I became an avid cyclist and one day I was watching the Lance Armstrong documentary. The man is very controversial but I respect him for the cancer journey he made. He raised an amazing amount of money for cancer research and really put it out in the public domain for all to see. One quote he said which stuck with me was “The truth is, if you asked me to choose between winning the Tour de France and cancer, I would choose cancer. Odd as it sounds, I would rather have the title of cancer survivor than winner of the Tour, because of what it has done for me as a human being, a man, a husband, a son, and a father.”
I couldn’t agree more. Cancer is awful but has truly changed me for better, as a person.” Adam was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2017. But he worked against all the odds to get his life back. Now he loves his bicycle and rides it to spread awareness and positivity.
 
The Diagnosis
 
“I experienced bright blood on toilet paper after going to the toilet. I saw my GP 3 times and was told it was piles and nothing to worry about. After living with the same problem for 3 years and awaiting the birth of my baby boy, I went to a different doctor and was sent for a colonoscopy in May 2017. The surgeon found a tumor in my large bowel and told me the same day there was a high percentage it was cancerous. I was then sent for a CT scan to make sure cancer hadn’t spread. The scan showed the extent of the tumor which measured 6cm and a spot of something suspicious on my liver. I was then sent for MRI scans of my bowel and liver. This was to give a much more in-depth image of the organs. The scan of the bowel showed that the tumor had grown outside of the bowel and had infected surrounding lymph nodes. Luckily, the spot on my liver was a watery cyst and nothing to worry about. I was classed at that point as a stage 3 Cancer with T4 tumor at the age of 27.”
 
The Journey
 
Colon Cancer Survivor's Journey
“After diagnosis, I met my oncologist. He explained the treatment path I would take and it all began within a week or so. He said, “we would use chemotherapy and radiotherapy to shrink cancer as it is so big and then the curative measure will be surgery to remove it from your body”. The first stop on the cancer killing train was Chemotherapy. I was scheduled to have 3 rounds over 9 weeks. I started in July 2017. Round 1 went OK, a few side effects but nothing too bad. When taking chemotherapy, you have checkups with your oncologist and regular blood tests. I started round 2 and after a few days I woke up sweating and disorientated. I remember walking into the bathroom and I collapsed. My wife took me to the hospital. They checked my blood and found my white blood cells where elevated. I had an infection which was treated with antibiotics and was OK after a few days. I then turned up at the hospital ready for my final round 3 but was told my oncologist wanted to see me before I started, that was a little strange I thought. He explained that they will look for a marker in the blood called a CEA marker. This is used in bowel cancer treatment to see if the treatments are working. If the number goes down you are going the right way. Unfortunately, mine was increasing. The decision was made that I was to stop chemotherapy as it was having no effect and I was to have a colostomy bag fitted which requires an operation and a stay in the hospital, and I will then begin radiotherapy. All this will happen in the next 24 hours. Other than several broken bones which were in and out the same day, I had never spent a night in a hospital. I was now facing several days and an operation. I remember thinking how much this is going to change my life. If you’re not sure what a colostomy entails, it is when an incision is made in your stomach and your bowel stitched to the outside of your skin. This then bypasses your bum and you poo into a bag which sticks to you. I’m a very positive person and think my way around most things. It has changed my life, in fact, I probably do more now than I did before the colostomy operation. Once I recovered from the operation, I had further scans to plan the radiotherapy treatment. I was told that the tumor has now grown to 9 cm and this would explain my groin and leg pain I was experiencing I had to attend the hospital every day, Monday to Friday for treatment and had to take chemotherapy tablets morning and night for 5 weeks. Within the first 4 days of treatment, all my symptoms were gone. It was truly a miracle. I couldn’t believe how well the radiotherapy was working. You still have your weekly checkups with the oncologist and the usual blood tests to check your CEA amongst other things. When I started radiotherapy, my CEA was over 40. It dropped week on week. The oncologist added on 3 extra days as it was working so well, and by the end, my CEA was 2.4, which is what it should be. I then had 8 weeks off to allow my bowel to repair itself from the intense treatment and I then prepared to have the section of cancerous bowel and lymph nodes removed. D-Day arrived on 23rd January 2018. I remember thinking I have had an operation before which was 2 hours long and spent 3 days in the hospital. This will be a walk in the park. How wrong I was. I remember waking up after the operation and I asked how long I was out for, 7 hours she said!!!! I felt rough for several days and had some complications but was home with my family after 7 days. At the beginning of this journey, the initial surgeon who broke the news to me did explain that due to the tumor being so low down into my pelvis, and how big it was, surgery would be very tricky. The surgeon who operated on me was a specialist in key-hole surgery and he said when he looked inside, he couldn’t see a tumor! He looked from 3 different angles, but couldn’t find anything. He proceeded with key-hole surgery instead of open surgery and it was a complete success. Radiotherapy has shrunk the 9cm tumor to nothing!! After any cancer surgery, the organs and tissues are sent to histology to be analyzed, to see if any cancer cells are still present. This then gives the oncologist an idea on further treatment. The report came back and nothing was found in my bowel or lymph nodes which were removed. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was then given the good news that no further treatment was required and I would only need blood tests and scans from now on.”
 
Motivation to fight cancer
 
“My motivation was my family. I was 2 years married to my beautiful wife and had a 2-month-old baby boy at home when I was told I had cancer.”
 
The biggest hindrance
 
“It was awful hearing the chemotherapy was not working and the tumor was growing and not shrinking. It isn’t a nice form of treatment and it does make you feel ill. It sometimes made me feel annoyed that I went through it for nothing, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t working in other parts of my body.”
 
Message to other fighters
 
Message for cancer patients
“Always celebrate the little things no matter how small. I always classed every step forward as a win whether that was having my colostomy operation or seeing the CEA number fall.”

“Cancer Is Kind Of A Test, And You Will Pass It” Says Colon Cancer Survivor

colon cancer survivor story
“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”
Paula was diagnosed with colon cancer last year but she has now successfully defeated her disease and lives a healthy life. Read her inspiring story to know more.
 
The Diagnosis
 
“Last year, accidentally.”
 
The Journey
colon cancer survivor's journey
“Hello, I’m Paula and I come from Poland. I came to Germany more than year ago. In September I started to feel a little pain in my stomach, went to doctor but I needed to wait to visit a specialist and for tests. So, I was waiting. My pain was bigger and bigger. In November I had date at the doctor. And then gastroscopy. It was all good so doctor gave me only pills for my reflux. But next day pain was still harder, and the next day I couldn’t withstand so I came back to this doctor and I was begging for another tests. He did them. He made USG and he was quiet. He had big eyes and talked to me in German. Because my German wasn’t good yet I asked for a talk in English. I remember only few words. tumor, colon, hospital right now. I didn’t know what to do or what to say so I took my bag and went to hospital. I though its only appendix or something like this. It was round 8 p.m. I was waiting in hospital (they all thought its appendix too) for an operation maybe 3 hours. I woke up at 3 a.m. with really huge pain in my stomach in intensive care didn’t know what happened or something. Nurse gave me painkiller and I went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning doctors came to me for a talk but of course in German which I didn’t know so one of them, the boss, came back with translator. And in a while my heart was broken, my life was a ruin. He said it wasn’t appendix. It was colon cancer. Yes, me, young mother, young wife. I only asked if I’m going to die, he said ‘ no, it’s all out’. It was huge operation, I have huge scar on my stomach. I have few tests, everything was okay, no more tumors in my body. After almost 2 weeks in hospital I went to home. And I was waiting for a chemotherapy. But after one week at home doctor phoned me that I’m totally healthy and I don’t need it! It was so amazing, me and my husband, we were crying because that means it’s the end of this nightmare. And now, after all this, I’m trying to eat only healthy food, I’m a smoker but I smoke less than earlier. I still believe that next tests (I need to check out my body every 6 months for a 5 years) will be also negative and it was only sad accident in my life, not my destiny. My husband, mother and especially daughter gave me so much power and hope and I know I can’t fail them. I know I have reason to fight even when something is going to be wrong. My journey wasn’t long, but totally unexpected. Today I have thoughts too that cancer came back cause I have pain somewhere but my mind tells me ‘keep calm it’s not that, everything’s okay’. And I feel that cancer is not the end. It’s only a challenge. And I won!”
 
Biggest Hindrance
 
“Pain and my mind.”
 
Motivation to fight cancer
 
“My family, my little baby girl”
 
Message to other fighters
Message for cancer patients
“I think cancer is a kind of test. And I’m sure you’re going to pass it.”
 
My genetics tests said that I have Lynch Syndrome. For my body that means that I can be attacked by cancer in every minute again. For my that means that I need to fight with my weakness, take a big care of myself and live in hope that i’ll be in that 10% who will live calmly till the end. But still i believe it’s a test for me, much bigger than i though but i can shake this shit off from my body every fcking time it gonna be back to me. That’s right, I was, I am and I will be survivor!’

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here