My “health” life has been interesting, to say the least….
When I was fifteen years old I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had complex seizures. It was hard to say how long I lived with the seizures…. I would have these “things” as I would tell my parents where I would blank out. Growing up they would call me Spacy Cacy, thinking I was just a spacy child. It wasn’t until I started driving when my parents realized these “things” were something to be concerned with. I had a seizure while driving and I started veering off the road. After that my mom decided it was time to see a doctor. After meeting with a neurologist and having tests done we came to the conclusion that I was having seizures. So I spent the next several years on medication. After that, my life seemed to be pretty normal.
I married my husband in 2003. About 11 months later we had our son Logan.
Shortly after my son was born I started with stomach aches all the time. Cramping and bloating became a normalcy to me. I went to the doctor several times. I had an ultrasound done to check for an ulcer which had come back normal. The only thing that ever came out of all those complaints to the doctor was that I was anemic and that I probably had irritable bowel syndrome. I had gone in to my family doctor on numerous occasions. Fatigue and belly discomfort were always brought up. The only thing that I was ever told was that I was anemic.
In 2008 we found out we were expecting or daughter. At my very first “baby” appointment my OBGYN discovered that my thyroid felt enlarged. So she sent me to a have ultrasound on my thyroid. After getting the results back that it indeed stated it was large and that I had 2 nodules. Soon after, I met with an endocrinologist. He did a biopsy in his office and a couple days later he called me with a diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
Being only 16 weeks pregnant we has surgery to remove my thyroid. I was scared to death. The surgery didn’t scare me, but being pregnant at the same time did.
I came through the surgery just fine.
About 2 weeks after my surgery I had noticed a large amount of blood in my pants. I was frantic and couldn’t get a hold of my husband. So I drove myself to the ER. At the time I had thought the blood was related to my pregnancy. We had ultrasounds and tests done and everything looked normal.
It wasn’t until a couple days later I began wondering if the blood had come from my rectal area. I followed up with my family practitioner and she suggested that I go in and see a gastroenterologist. After meeting with him we decided to do a sigmoidoscopy. We didn’t want to risk doing a regular colonoscopy because of my pregnancy. The sigmoidoscopy didn’t show anything except for a couple of small hemorrhoids. He suggested that I follow up with him after the baby was born and we would do a colonoscopy.
In April of 2009 I had my healthy beautiful baby girl Kaylee. After she was born I continued to have stomach discomfort and constipation. Every once in a while I would see blood in my stools, but I just ignored it and thought it was from the constipation.
When my daughter was about a year old I started feeling very fatigued, tired and low on energy. And I never had that colonoscopy! I sucked it up to being a busy mom. Along with the fatigue I noticed my hair was thinning. I was losing a lot of it. And I was noticing this lump in the lower right side of my belly.
I had gone in for a routine physical and explained this all to my doctor and had her feel my belly. She was unable to feel it.
A few months later the fatigue and hair loss were getting worse, and the lump in my belly was getting bigger. I followed up with my doctor again. When I went in for my appointment I had lost 6 pounds in a matter of a few months. This time when she felt my belly she could feel this lump that was growing inside me. She immediately sent me over to have a CT scan. The results came back a couple days later and it appeared that I had a mass around my colon, some swollen lymph nodes, and spots on my liver.
My husband and I tried not to jump to conclusions but we were terrified. The next week I had that colonoscopy I should have had a year earlier.
When I woke up the doctor said it looked like cancer. I was fortunate that day to walk across the hall to meet with my surgeon Dr. Sue Beckwith. We decided that since I was already prepped for the colonoscopy that we would just do surgery the next day.
This was the scariest moment of my life. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The only thing I could think about were my 2 kids at home.
The surgery went over well. But my husband had to sit on my bed and tell me that the cancer was in my liver. I was now considered a Stage 4 cancer patient. Later that day my oncologist came to my hospital room. I asked him those dreadful questions. Can we fix this? And how much time do I have left? It was almost an outer body experience. It still to this day doesn’t seem real.
At first surgery wasn’t an option. But after some consultations with a new surgeon, Dr. Kollmorgen, we felt this was something that could be surgically removed.
8 weeks after my right colorectal resection, I went back to have 4 spots removed from my liver. This surgery was a little more intense, but I think it went well for the most part. They were able to remove all the spots, and after doing an ultrasound of the liver they were confident they removed it all. I lost a lot of blood and was in the ICU overnight.
4 weeks after surgery I started my 12 rounds of chemo over a 6 month course. I tolerated chemo for the most part. I was on the Folfox regimen. The hardest part was the lack of appetite and the extreme fatigue. I wouldn’t want to eat for about 2 days during the treatment week and I would sleep for 36 hours straight.
Cancer had made me realized at how blessed I am. My family and friends have been the greatest supporters. I’ve had the chance to meet great new people and friends.
One day I was at home watching Dr Oz. And he was talking about Colorectal cancer. He had pulled a woman from the audience and had asked her some questions. He was describing symptoms of colon cancer and had asked her if she thought she could be at risk. And her response was “No, I associate colon cancer with men. I would be more concerned with my husband getting colon cancer”.
To hear something like that, shows that there is not enough publicity about colon cancer.
Like Sharon Osbourne says “Nobody cares about anybody’s colon ‘cause it up your arse…it’s not sexy”