Two years ago, I was experiencing some symptoms of discomfort. On March 19th, 2013, I decided it was time to have a colonoscopy. The results were so obviously cancer that the doctor wouldn’t let me leave his office without scheduling an appointment with the doctors at Siteman Cancer center. This is how my crazy journey began. I was diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer that had metastasized to my liver. My liver was a mess. The best description I had was that it looked like it had polka dots all over. Dr. Tan started me on chemotherapy which continued for almost a year. I suppose I should have felt like this was the beginning of the end, but everything is so positive and upbeat at Siteman that it is hard to stay sad. I’m not saying that I didn’t have some very dark, hopeless times where I just wanted to call it quits and give up, but that just wasn’t an option.
I was considered “inoperable” at the end of 2013, so I agreed to enter a study. I needed one last set of scans to solidify I wasn’t a surgery candidate, so I had those scans in the beginning of 2014. By the grace of God, along with my talented cancer team, the “polka dots” were no longer visible in half of my liver! In 2014, chemotherapy continued, and eventually radiation was added for a week. Shortly after this, the surgeries started. Throughout this time I was thinking, I’ve heard of happy endings to cancer stories and I have also heard the not so good ones. I was approached during the summer of 2014 to be the first recipient of the “Powered By Hope” medal. Teri is just amazing, she has stood in my shoes once and persevered, so why can’t I? When I received the medal I couldn’t help but think, quitting is not an option, I can never give up hope.
Now here I am, two years later. Part of my colon and liver has been removed along with some lymph nodes. After my last surgery in October, I was told there were more visible tumors. I am still on chemotherapy, but just as maintenance. I routinely have more scans, and of course it makes me nervous, but I always remain very hopeful. I am very proud of my “Powered By Hope” medal. It hangs where I see it first thing in the morning and the last at night. I have no doubt that it takes a combination of things to succeed in recovering from a disease that takes so many lives. I have a fabulous team of doctors and nurses, an unbelievable amount of prayers and support from my family and friends and most of all a positive attitude.