Stephen's Journey with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Survivor: Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Patient Info: Finished active treatment less than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 9 years ago, Male, Age: 63, KRAS mutation positive: No, BRAF mutation positive: No, Stage III

  1. 1
    • Stephen
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Stephen's Avatar

    Diagnosed

    Oh No

    I had gotten a colonoscopy just on my perserverance. I had no symptoms. The pictures after the procedure had a nasty looking spot in it. The doctor didn't immediately get me concerned. She handled it so fantastically. Then I got the phone call. I had cancer but Dr Harmon was very positive, although it was...Oh No... its happening. I was on the phone with my parents when she called back to tell me th results of the MRI that I had after the colonoscopy came back and there was no evidence that it was anywhere but my colon. Later I found that the MRI isn't the best way to figure this out but at that time... I took it and ran with it. Some of the hardest things to do is to tell other people that you have cancer and knowing its a killer, you don't know what will happen next. I went with trust. I trusted I was in the right place for the best results. Faith...trust. I beleived in the doctors and I didn't consume all the information about cancer that people tried to give me. As a patient, my knowledge was keeping my attitude up so the one's with the knowledge can do their best. I gave it up to powers above my abilities. But I did my part inside my head.

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  2. 2
    • Stephen
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Stephen's Avatar

    Colon surgery (colectomy or hemicolectomy)

    Procedure or Surgery

    2 weeks after the discovery of cancer I was in surgery. I had two procedured that week. They found a possible tumor in my stomache, also a possible non-cancerous bump. So I went in for that procedure 2 days before surgery. They failed to anethisize me properly and i woke up with all the instruments stuck down my throat...I don't recommend that part ot anyone. They put me back under but I was sick when I woke up. So then it was time to get ready for major surgery. I'm not the kind that goes to the doctor for almost anything. I don't get sick but I had cancer. No time to be tough, time to say..What's next Doc? So I went into the hospital with parents and sister there. A minister said a prayer and that was it. I woke up to find out they tried to do it with out cutting me open but that wouldn't cut it (get it?). SO they took a foot of my colon out and left an incision of about 12" down my stomache ( so much for my bikini modeling career..:( ). I was in the hospital for 7 days. Slowly learning to poop again draggin my tree of life around with me. I had a terrible time with Morphine for one day but basically I was weak but not uncomforatble. I had lots of visitors. Wonderful people. The last day I was in the hospital my daughter got married by a Justic of the Peace and the hospital crew put on a reception for them in my room and brought a gift to me I could give her. I tried to play a song ( I'm a song writer and a guitar player/singer) i wrote that was good for the occassion...but was so tired. I did play a little "Moondance" for them. I got out later that day and spent a couple of months at my folks house getting back on my feet.

    Went as Expected: Strongly Agree
    Minimal Recovery: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  3. 3
    • Stephen
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Stephen's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    After I recovered enough Chemo started. It was tough. It was doable and the nurses and doctors are angels. Not easy to walk into a room full of cancer patients but YOU MUST DO THIS and that's all you need to know. My weeks were like this....go to Chemo on Wednesday. You spend several hours getting weighed, taking blood to see if your red blood cells are good enough to take chemo. I missed a couple of weeks due to a low red blood cell count. I told someone its like getting kicked in the crotch but after each kick you have one fewer to go through...so you basically knew it was coming but knew you were closer to the end. So after Wednesday they gave you the coolest fanny pack which went out of style right after Elvis died to wear for 46 hours....sleeping, working, walking, sitting, it became part of you. The steroids they gave me at Chemo usually kept me up for a while. After I went back to work, they switched me to the graveyard shift so that was Chemo during the day....then stay up all night with the pack cranking the juice to me. I never had a problem with the pack. It always worked and I figured out how to manipulate life around it. After it ran out I had to go back on Friday to get it taken off. The port that they had put in worked mot of the time but got a bit clogged towards the end. After Friday I started a low slide into nausea and fatigue it got worse as the weekend went along. I learned to sit down and rest when my body said so, eat only what I could. Malts worked real well with a stomache turning. Then when I got better, it was CHEMO TIME again...one less to go through. After Chemo the bottom of my feet are numb. It burnt the nerve endings off and it nearly 5 years and it will be that way the restof my life. I have buried friends that didn't survive and my feet remind me of hoe fortunate I am and continue to be.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  4. 4
    • Stephen
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Stephen's Avatar

    What was next...what to do

    Decision Point

    I decided that I would do whatever it took. I decided to not be down. I decided to believe in the doctors. I decided to think of my recovery over any other influence....making someone else happy over my recovery. I decided to live a normal life no matter how long that was. I never waivered in my dedication to do what they told me to do. I cried in private. I prayed a lot. I got an overwhelming feeling of I was in the right place doing the right thing with the right people and I never let that feeling go.

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  5. 5
    • Stephen
    • Experience with Colorectal (Colon) Cancer
    over 4 years ago
    Stephen's Avatar

    Allergic reaction

    Side Effects

    Here's what else happened....I grew allergic to Chemo. They had to give me Benadryl before Chemo. I broke out in red blotches and the nurses went nuts!! The Doctor said....give him some benadryl and finish up the chemo. Love Dr. Soori. I had nausea. I was weak. My hands burned when I touched anything frozen. My feet are numb on the bottom. I'M ALIVE!!!! The year I had cancer I also gave my van back to the bank, went thru bankruptcy and divorce, moved out and to top it off, I got laid off. SO 2008 is a mark in surviving. I made it and so can you. My friends in the music biz around town had a benefit to help with my bills. I wrote a song for them to say thanks and I have appeared on local radio for colon cancer awareness month and I played this song in the studio.....You can hear it at: http://stephenmonroe.com....the song is called THEY SAID YEAH. We can't do this alone and there is no need to.

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