Joe J. on February 25, 2015
I was Diagnosed with:
stage IV Colon Cancer, metastasis, FAP
Type and Description of Treatments:
Five major surgeries, 2 of the 5 surgeries were to remove my entire colon and rectum. I have a permanent ileostomy. My 3rd surgery was removing a cancerous mass in my bile duct. Surgery 4 was very moving to sections of my liver, one in each lobe. Surgery 5 removal of gallbladder. Small surgery of incisional hernia. Small surgery putting in chemo port. 36 rounds of chemotherapy. Four cancer recurrences. have a future surgery scheduled for another hernia repair located by my ileostomy.
How do you feel today?
Besides the frequent amount of hernias being hernia prone, I feel well otherwise. Good days and bad days.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
I see life in a whole new perspective, I notice the little things in life that I didn't before. It has woken me up and taught me to live life to its fullest no matter what. Life is a gift and life is short so make the best of it. Never give up.
What is going well for you right now?
Being able to be moderately active again until my next surgery. Currently in remission. Lucky to be alive.
What is not going well for you right now?
On and off pain in my abdomen and discomfort from my ileostomy. Hernia. Unemployed. Financially strapped.
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
To accept the diagnosis of having cancer and having for recurrences. I was given a short time to live at my diagnosis. Had a real terrible struggle with my liver surgery and nearly had kidney failure.
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
I go to cancer groups on Facebook and talk to friends and family people that are also cancer survivors and/or Fighters.
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
My goals have changed dramatically because of the financial costs of treatments. It cost me my life savings. Being disabled for a long time has made it quite difficult. Not getting enough support for financial help.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
Right now I am NOT working due to unemployment, lack of work and on disability
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
My situation has taken my work away from me. I cannot do the things I love to do and that I did before. But also there is a bright side. I am alive and active
What has helped you continue to work the most?
Keeping a positive attitude and hoping that the cancer does not return.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
You need to have strong will power. You have to have a strong attitude and tell cancer to go stick it. You have to tell yourself that cancer will not control me or beat me. Eating healthy and staying active if possible.
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
I have had several side effects from chemotherapy, neuropathy problems, hot sweats,pain in hands and feet, nausea and dehydration. I had a hard time keeping my nutrition because of nausea.
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
Always get a second opinion and choose a highly qualified and professional Physician. Don't go to doctors and hospitals where they treat you as a number. I go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.