Did you ever have one of the moments when you knew it was a God thing? That’s what I feel like as I’m writing to you about the journey God has brought me through as a colon rectal cancer survivor and warrior.
Since I started this journey God has slowly brought to my attention other people that have also suffered with colon cancer or loved ones that have suffered or have passed on from colon cancer and still others that may need an ileostomy. Before now I never knew any of these friends had these experiences. That’s how I know that I know God has asked me to write to you and continue to share and bring hope to others who are on, have been on or will take this journey. I deeply hope that someone … even one person might be aware of a warning sign and avoid colon cancer entirely by getting tested and/or treated early.
As I entered rocky roads
My doctor told me if I would have only come to him when the symptoms first occurred he could have removed the polyp and we would have avoided all the rest. If only there was a recall button.
Knowing I have cancer I am ready to fight the fight and I asked the Lord to carry me through the surgery. My doctor told me the prognosis of my surgery was very good. I had a polyp that was cancerous and it was on the muscle of my rectum so he would go in and remove the polyp along with the entire rectum. The surgery would warrant a colostomy but and at that time he told me I would not require any follow-up treatment (radiation, chemo).
My dear family and friends and church family continued to rally around me and support me with prayers and sending meals they had prepared to help my family while I was undergoing surgery and treatments. God is good how he’ll send giving people into your life at a time of need. I pray God will continue to show me now how to be a help to others in need.
The day of my surgery time went by very slow. Everyone was waiting while I was in surgery to hear the outcome of the procedure and to see me and know that things went well. It wasn’t until the evening when I was back in my hospital room and I remember being in a lot of pain. I was really out of it between the surgery, medication and the pain I couldn’t even open my eyes. Praise God the doctor had a good report for me and my family all went well with the surgery (Thank you Lord!). Still I knew it would be a long hard road ahead.
Only a few days after surgery the doctor told me I had to go for radiation treatment to be sure the cancer wouldn’t return. I was so upset I already had it set in my mind surgery was it. He told me I wouldn’t need any follow-up treatment either radiation or chemo. He was really insistent it was a precaution as I stated above that nothing was left behind and to prevent the cancer from returning.
I now had the task of learning how to manage my colostomy. For those of you who don’t know an “ostomy is a surgically created opening connecting an internal organ to the surface of the body. I first had a “colostomy” (connecting the large intestine to the skin)”[i]. I had an ET” (Enterostomal Therapy) nurse come into my room to teach me how to care for my ostomy appliance/supplies/equipment.
Learning the proper names of the ostomy equipment and learning how to care for myself. It was all so new to me and overwhelming.Supplies and Caring for an Ostomy: You’ll need adhesive remover, skin protector, wafer, pencil, measuring guide, stomadhesive paste, plastic bags, washcloth, clean towel, new pouch, and scissors[ii]. The steps to caring and managing your Ostomy: empty the pouch, cleaning and caring for the stoma and skin around the area, tracing and cutting the wafer to fit to the stoma, applying the skin protector and adhesive, snapping the pouch onto the wafer and pressing gently to make sure you have a good seal.
The day finally came when I had to go home and I was so worried about my kids and what they would think.
It was a Monday when I had to start radiation treatment. I remember the doctor marking my body for the treatment. I was told that I would need 22 treatments in total and that I would be on the table for 22 seconds for each session. I was only two days into my treatment and I felt that something wasn’t right but still I continued with the treatment since I knew I had to do this to be strong and stay well. I was so grateful when graduation day (from my radiation treatments) arrived and the treatments and horrible side effects would finally be over (Thank God!). Now I can finally just get on with my life… so I thought. All was well and I was beginning to cope with my new life and living with a colostomy. It was one year later and my troubles were starting again. My faith was still very strong and once again I knew the Lord was going to be with me as I entered into rocky roads ahead.
If you are feeling or experiencing something similar, I’d love to hear from you. I didn’t have anyone who could relate to me at the time and I don’t want that for you. Please send me an email or reach out to me via Facebook or Twitter.
TAKE ACTION, ask your primary care doctor for a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)[i] which can detect or prevent cancer long before the symptoms occur. Make your health a number one priority. You’re worth it and your family and friends are worth it!
Until next time. Luv you all!