It’s been 5 years since I gave my testimony at church, Pastor and I thought it would be a good time to give an update. Lynch Syndrome, a genetic condition, still puts me at high risk for several cancers I continue to be screened for each year. Short Bowel Syndrome still has me attached to IV fluids and nutrition 9 hrs each night and I have a permanent ileostomy but I’m happy to report, I’m still cancer free! My oncologist says my colon cancer is considered cured. From stage IV and offered hospice to cured, God still does miracles!
God is using me in amazing new ways I could’ve never imagined a few years ago. I’ve become involved in colon cancer advocacy, public speaking at several events and volunteering with The Colon Club and Fight Colorectal Cancer. In March, I went to Washington DC with Fight CRC’s Call on Congress to speak with our Ohio Congressmen about a bill H.R.1220 - Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015. Currently, if a Medicare patient goes in for a colonoscopy screening and a polyp is found and removed, (the whole point of the screening) it’s then coded as a procedure and no longer covered. H.R. 1220 would prevent that from happening, allowing all colonoscopies to be covered.
Last year I was chosen from hundreds of applicants to be featured in 2015 Colondar 2.0, The Colon Club’s colorectal cancer awareness magazine. Along with 11 other survivors, most consider “too young” for colorectal cancer, I flew to Nashville, TN for a photo shoot and interview. The project seeks to raise eyebrows. Reveal scars. And most importantly, raise awareness that colorectal cancer CAN HAPPEN IF YOU’RE UNDER AGE 50. As part of the application process we were asked to include our cancer story. The Colon Club was so impressed with my written story they asked me to blog for them. This year I’ve been asked to join the staff for the 2016 Colondar 2.0 as a writer, so I’ll fly to Nashville again this summer to interview 4 of the new models. I pray I can do their stories justice.
To read The Colon Club blog visit http://colonclub.com/category/the-colon-clubs-blog/. If you would like to buy a 2015 Colondar 2.0 you could go to http://colonclub.com/store/ or buy one directly from me for $10.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people through these advocacy efforts, some have wonderful relationships with Jesus, some are very angry with Jesus, some are adamant atheists. I’m determined to be a light in their lives, whether it’s to encourage the believers, guide the lost, or confront the darkness.
As I said in my original video testimony, 10 out of 10 people die. This advocacy work brings me close to these great people who are still fighting stage IV colorectal cancer. Some of them have finished the race, two of them already this year. I miss them. I pray they are with Jesus.
Finally, let me end with this; colon cancer is preventable with proper screening. If you have family history or a genetic condition such as Lynch or FAP and/or have been diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disorder such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s Disease, you are at a higher risk for colorectal cancer. If you’re having symptoms, such as change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation or a change in the consistency of your stool, rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, persistent abdominal discomfort, such as cramps, gas or pain, feeling like your bowel doesn’t empty completely or unexplained weight loss, please get screened. 1 in 20 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in their lifetime.
First I want to give God all the glory for the great things He has done! Through a program called “First Place 4 Health”, a Jesus Christ centered healthy living/wholeness program 3 ½ years ago, God has blessed me with loosing 140lbs!
I was a year round athlete all my life so I could eat whatever I wanted in large quantities and I burned it off. Even through college I only gained 15 lbs because I continued to burn off what I ate. Once I graduated college with a degree in Sports Medicine and athletic training and started my job that is when things started to change. Like all of us, work filled much of my time and I didn’t exercise or play sports much. So the weight started increasing. Then I met my husband, Bob, here at this church and eventually got married. I kept gaining more weight. It wasn’t until we started to have children that I reached my highest weight of 300lbs. See I had been very healthy all of my life until this point. During my pregnancies I had high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and needed bed rest. I was told if things didn’t change these health problems will be your future. That scared me and I started to take my health very seriously. That is when God stepped in.
“It’s treatable.” was the reply. No cure, just treatment, for the rest of my life to save my life. At the time it didn’t seem like good news, at least not the kind I wanted. That day began a roller coaster journey emotionally, mentally and physically. I literally began to mourn the loss of the healthy body that I wanted.
Denial – An inconclusive bone marrow biopsy had us convinced that I had been misdiagnosed. So we prayed that God would help the doctors see their mistake, but God said “No.”