In the late summer/early fall of 2013 I was diagnosed with Stage 3b colon cancer that had already invaded my lymph nodes and pretty quickly spread to my liver, becoming stage 4 colon cancer. We have been chasing this cancer away ever since.
In 2013 I read that I would have a 13% chance of surviving.
If 100 people with my diagnosis stood in a room together and each year came back there would be fewer and fewer people. I read that in 5 years, the percentage has gone up a whopping one percent. This year, there would be 14. I’m one of them. This fills me with deep gratitude. And deep sorrow and anger for the 86 people who fought and were overcome by this terrible disease. Just like I don’t know why I got cancer as a 35 year old active woman, I don’t know why I’m in this small group of survivors. All I can do is be thankful and be an active participant in our race to a cure. I have participated in clinical trials (Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis was injected into me, carrying with it some magical immunotherapy designed to teach my immune system to fight cancer) and research studies (I was screened and received counseling for being at high risk for depression following my surgery on my liver. I wasn’t depressed, but I benefited greatly from my relationship with my counselor.) I had genetic testing to learn about my family history and a possible genetic link. They found no clear link, but there is markedly higher risk in my family. The one great thing about colon cancer is that you can catch it before it starts with proper screening.
So here’s some awesome news: I had my CT scan and it was CLEAR. My blood work shows that my tumor markers are nonexistent, which means my cancer is undetectable. I do not currently have any trace of cancer in me. I made it for five years.
(My oncologist is the coolest.)
The gratitude comes in waves. Grateful for more time with my people. Grateful to have more time to use my gifts and strengths to make the world better. Grateful to have time to see more places. Have more thrilling moments. To be surprised by what beautiful things life brings. Adventures lie ahead. Invite me on one. I’ll say yes.
I want at least 100 more adventures in the next six months. Like these: