erburns' Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Family/Friend: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Living with cancer as a chronic illness (undergoing adjuvant therapy), Diagnosed: over 5 years ago, Male, Age: 31

  1. 1
    • erburns
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Meeting Mark

    Celebration

    In June 2011, I met the love of my life. Mark and I were both in my cousins wedding, and it just so happened my cousin and her now husband were trying to set us up. However, nobody really thought it would work; I was a 22 year old about to start my senior year in college and avoided my small, farm hometown at all costs. Mark is a 26 year old owner/operator of a family trucking company, and was too busy to sleep let alone date. But I drunkenly hit on him, and it took off from there. I decided to stay an extra while at home instead of go back to school, and we started seeing each other whenever we could. We talked every day, met each others family, he even let me ride in the truck with him a few times. When August rolled around and it was time for me to leave for school, we made promises to see each other often i.e. me mainly coming home since he worked on the weekends too. But I was okay with that; I'd only known him two months and he had changed me; I was a better person because of him. By October, I knew he was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

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  2. 2
    • erburns
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Cancer is back/Recurred

    Oh No

    One of the first times I hung out with Mark, we talked all night. He confided in me that he had had a run of bad luck in the past. When he was 20, he was diagnosed with colon cancer. When it was all said and done, he had had surgery to remove almost all of his colon. He is living today with the bare minimum you can without a colostomy bag. He still to this day is very self-conscious about the scar on his abdomen. To top it off, when he was 22 he suffered from a brain aneurysm brought on my stress. If it wouldn't have hemorrhaged on his own, he would have died. Due to this, Mark can't take certain medications and suffers from migraines. In November, I started noticing Mark becoming distant. He started calling every other day instead of every day- he seemed crabby and agitated. It was around Thanksgiving that he told me he was feeling the way he had felt when he got sick the first time, and that he had made a doctor's appointment to confirm what he already knew. It was back. I immediately went into denial. He was going to be okay because he had to be, right?

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  3. 3
    • erburns
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
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    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Mark was told that yes, his colon cancer was back but that it looked good. The doctors worked with him to provide a route to recovery that wouldn't interfere with his work. He was put on the chemo pills, and while he was tired and constantly sick he still worked his normal 20 hour days. I came home almost every weekend to be with him, to just lay with him. By the end of January, the cancer hadn't gotten any bigger but it hadn't gotten any stronger. They doctors decided to hit Mark with a hard chemo treatment to see if it improved. It didn't. So back on the pills he went.

    Easy to Do: Not Specified
    Minimal Side Effects: Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Disagree
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  4. 4
    • erburns
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    almost 5 years ago
    erburns' Avatar

    Decision Point

    On March 15, Mark was told my doctors that he had three options: to do nothing, to have his remaining colon cut out, or to continue with chemotherapy in hopes something would change. That night Mark told me he thought we should stop seeing each other in a romantic way, and try to just be friends. He said it would make it easier on me, and him, in the long run and that he thought he needed to do this alone. He askedme not to wait for him, because he wasn't sure he'd choose an option where he had a future. I couldn't do anything but nod, as tears poured down my cheeks. Seeing the man you love break down is one of the hardest things I think I've ever witnessed. And I can only hope that he will put his stubbornness aside and deal with having a colostomy bag if it means saving his life. If anyone has any advice on what I should do, I'd love to hear it. I don't even care if we end up together in the end, I just want him to be healthy nd happy.

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