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I Was 41: Never Give Up!

Posted on December 26, 2013

Here’s how it starts: 

“You need to eat more fiber.”
“It’s hemorrhoids.”
“You just gave birth; give your body some time.” 

For me, it was Celiac Disease before a colonoscopy was ever recommended and done. After six months of horrific abdominal pain, I had a diagnosis. But it wasn’t one I expected: stage IV colon cancer. 

When you’re young, colon cancer isn’t on your radar. But I’m living proof that this isn’t just an old man’s disease. And I’m not alone. 

This year, more than 15,000 people under age 50 will be diagnosed with this disease. That’s 15,000 people with weddings, children and careers ahead of them. People who won’t see it coming. People like me. 

And the scariest thing: colon cancer is on the rise in this age group. 

Education and action could put an end to this. That’s why I’m asking you to support the Colon Cancer Alliance. Through their Never Too Young campaign, research agenda and a forthcoming medical journal article, they’re doing a critical service – putting colon cancer on the map for young adults. And once the world knows young people get colon cancer, we can start to squash these staggering trends. 

I want to retire and grow old with my husband. I want to see my son get married. I want to see my step-son choose his career path and succeed. I’m not going to sit back and let cancer win and I’m asking you not to, either. 

Together, we can make a difference for future generations. Take a stand with me and support the Colon Cancer Alliance

Never give up, 

P.S. Did you know many employers match employee gifts? Learn how you can double your donation.

4 Responses to “I Was 41: Never Give Up!”

  1. Joe Torres says:

    Diana, I needed to see this today on my facebook wall. My partner was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and my world came crashing down. I find it hard to just wake up. I get so depressed. I am a member of CAA and know that there are others that live awhile with this disease. I need to hear positive stories and not worry so much. I don’t know if I am being selfish but I am also concerned about me. Where will I be at the end of this. We never saved so his income helped us survive. Will I move close to home so my family can get me though this? I know I will not be in the right mental condition if this goes a bad way. Please tell me to have faith and that you are a long time survivor. Thanks Joe

  2. Jason says:

    nice to hear of another stage IV under 50 with colon cancer.

    I was diagnosed at age 38 in Dec 2012… still going through infusions every other week and not sure when it will end. I keep fighting and I consider my journey lucky as my only side effect is neuropathy in my fingers which I’m now on Lyrica. now

    Diana… Stay strong and let’s beat this so we can add our names to survivors list

    Jason / aMassinMyAss

  3. Ellen says:

    Diana, I am currently in remission from stage IV colon cancer that has metastasized to my liver. I still have to take god-awful chemo pills that are very rough on my body (don’t have to tell you that). Anyway, I’m very happy that you are in a good state.

    I am contacting you because I have been trying,to no avail, to inform the public and United States government that hospitals are getting away with NOT treating or diagnosing people with life altering diseases in a proper manner before it’s almost or is too late. PLEASE understand that this is NOT about compensation but awareness. I have sent copies of this letter to Senators, President Obama,Congressmen, (social security disability because I am disable to work because my cancer was too advanced), the Ohio Dept. of Health, and I believe I sent a copy to the Colon Cancer alliance. Please help me help others get the proper care (no matter what the affliction is:

    June 12, 2013
    University Hospital
    11100 Euclid Avenue
    Cleveland, OH 44106

    Attention Patient Advocate and Legal Department:

    On December 2, 2006, I visited University Hospital Geneva Medical Center Emergency room with severe left lower quadrant pain. During my visit a CT scan was done and it was determined that I had diverticulitis and was admitted to UH Geneva for a period of 4 (four days). The emergency room doctor informed me that my condition was very serious and that I could die. The ER doctor said when I was discharged from the hospital to follow up and set an appointment to get a colonoscopy done with Dr. Goel. I called Dr. Goel’s office to get a colonoscopy done about December 9, 2006. When I called Dr. Goel’s office, I explained that I was recently discharged from the hospital with the information from the ER physician, “I should get a colonoscopy done”. The response I got from the receptionist after I told her I had no insurance was “well, call us back if you change your mind”. I never was given the opportunity to get the colonoscopy done.
    Sometime in August of 2007, I visited the University Hospital Geneva Medical Center emergency room with identical symptoms as of my visit in December, 2006. I explained EVERYTHING about my previous visit to the hospital to the attending emergency room physician. I also explained that I was basically denied a colonoscopy done because I did not have health insurance. I also explained to the ER doctor during my August, 2007 visit that I now had health insurance coverage. The ER doctor at that time totally disregarded EVERYTHING I told him and ordered an ultrasound done on me to determine ovarian cysts.
    My last visit to University Hospital Geneva Medical Center emergency room with the same symptoms was in October of 2012, (I have visited UH Geneva Medical Center several times between Dec., 2006 and October of 2012 with the same exact symptoms). During this visit to UH Geneva Medical Center emergency room, I was given a CT scan; the ER doctor indicated that there may be cancer on my liver and he suggested I get a MRI done. At that time, I explained that I had NO INCOME and no health insurance and said “what’s the point in finding out if I have cancer if nobody is going to do anything about it”. Somehow, I was convinced someone was actually going to help me at your hospital and went ahead and got the MRI done, under Dr. Goel’s order the following day and was told to call for the results in a couple of days. When I called to get the results and after explaining my financial situation to the receptionist at Dr. Goel’s office said to me “we don’t do this for free”. I then asked her, “why would the doctor order the test then?” the receptionist could not explain.

    Because I was not getting any medical help from University Hospital Geneva Medical Center, I went to the Lake County Free Medical Clinic in Painesville, Ohio. My visit to the Lake County Free Medical Clinic gave me a referral to the Cleveland Clinic. On my initial consultation with the physician at the Cleveland Clinic in November of 2012, the physician said she recommends a colonoscopy done and informed me that I SHOULD have had a colonoscopy done years ago and that I would NOT have the medical problems I had and have now. I can and will have several physicians signed statements to the above mentioned statement if you would like verification.

    In January of 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer that has metastasized in my liver; the diagnosis was done by the Cleveland Clinic physicians. Because my cancer was in such an advanced stage and to prolong my life, I accepted the Oncologist’s suggestion of aggressive chemotherapy treatments.

    I am very grateful for the opportunity of prolonging my life the Cleveland Clinic has provided me; however, there are very strong side effects of the chemotherapy. These side effects include:
    • The inability to play with my grandchildren as I once did, due to fatigue and loss of muscle strength.
    • My cognitive abilities have been altered greatly (called chemo-brain).
    • The inability to earn a decent living because of loss of cognitive and physical abilities.
    • The inability to buy a nice home of my own because of limited income.
    • The inability to repay my debts (student loans, credit cards,) because I am unable to earn a decent living, I will only receive $807.00 for permanent disability payments month. This is barely enough to cover rent or mortgage, not enough to buy food and other necessities.
    • The fact that I am permanently disabled
    If I was properly diagnosed by a responsible physician and responsible hospital years ago, say back in 2006, I would not be experiencing such great losses. I feel as if University Hospital Geneva Medical Center has raped me of my life because of its irresponsible treatment and lack of proper treatment of my medical concerns. I will give permission to release all my medical records from your facility to any source who will listen to my story. I strongly suggest that you NOT destroy or delete any of my medical records.
    As a responsible member of the Northeast Ohio community, University Hospital Geneva Medical Center, along with millions of other humans, you can recognize the seriousness of attempted murder by neglectful or irresponsible physicians.
    I am blessing you with the opportunity to compensate for my loss in my request for $35,000,000 (Thirty-five million dollars) Five million dollars for every year I was not properly diagnosed, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to cover medical and other expenses, the price of my loss of abilities is unlimited so I capped it at $35,000,000.
    Thank you for your cooperation in this serious matter.
    Ellen M. Irwin

  4. Finley says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate your efforts and I am
    waiting for your further post thank you once again.

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