I was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer on August 19, 1997 at the age of 31. Prior to my diagnosis, I had been experiencing frequent abdominal and gas pain for months, which I ignored. The pain got worse, and I knew something was wrong. I took a leave of absence from work and went to the doctor’s office very week during that summer. I had x-rays, blood work and an ultrasound test. Everything came back normal, but I knew something wasn’t right.
I only weighed about 147 pounds before my illness. I have always been a small man. I gradually started to losing weight every day. I could not retain food or liquid in my stomach. I regurgitated everything I tried to eat or drink. By the middle of August, I had lost 50 pounds! I was nothing but skin and bones at 90 pounds. I seldom left my apartment because I didn't want my neighbors to see my appearance. A close friend kept watch over me and called my sister who came and took me to the emergency room. They admitted me and performed a colonoscopy which found a tumor in my transverse colon.
Surgery was the next day, and I started chemo one month later for six months. I was on 5fu and leucovorin. I experienced fatigue and a funny taste in my mouth, but got through the treatment with few side effects.
I was angry and felt life was unfair. I wondered why it happened to me? Why do bad things happen to good people? I cried for a couple of weeks until I finally accepted it with faith in God. I had a strong faith and believed God would see me through and it gave me strength to face life each day. I had a loving and caring family, close friends, co-workers and church members all supporting me.
I am a 13 year stage II colon cancer survivor and would like to help others cope with colon cancer. I want to offer them hope in their crisis. That is why I am a Buddy for the CCA.