My story: They used words like 'aggressive' and 'advanced'

"Off and on through most of my adult life, I thought I had hemorrhoids, or something related. In 2006, at the age of 52, I went to Dr. Wayne Tuckson. He did a colonoscopy, and found I had stage 4 colon/rectal cancer.

"He shared a treatment plan with my family and me, explaining we were "playing catch-up". He sent me to 2 other great doctors, Dr. Thomas Woodcock for chemo and Dr. William Spanos for radiation. I did chemo (Avastin) 24/7, through a pick in my arm, and went to radiation 5 days a week at Brown Cancer Center. I received a 24 hour quarantined radiation as well.

"They thought I would quite possibly lose my colon. Well, the cancer went away.Yippee! However, a few months later, it had re-appeared in my liver, again stage 4. They used words like "aggressive" and "advanced". So they put a port in my chest, and I did chemo again.

"Dr. Charles Scoggins took out 65% of my liver. (The liver grows back.) I am happy to say that everything worked. Since 2007, I have had no cancer, and feel fine. I have had a couple of colonoscopies and CT scans. I know that anything could change tomorrow, but I am grateful to the doctors, and other health care professionals, who helped me through."

--- Ben Houchens, Louisville, Ky.


My story: I was diagnosed at age 43

Virginia Payne
"I was diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer on June 10, 2013 at the age of 43. This day changed my life forever. I didn't have any symptoms. I went to the doctor on June 5, 2013. My sister, Sara, noticed that I was chewing ice one morning and she asked me "How long you been chewing ice?" I replied "about a month now" she informed me " don't be alarmed, but I that is a sign of low iron you may want to get it checked out".

Of course, I brushed her off for a couple of weeks. But I soon noticed that I was out of breathe walking up my steps in my house. So I decided to go see Dr Pete.

I explained my two symptoms to my doctor, thinking I'm ok he'll just tell me to get an iron supplement vitamin. He performed some blood work and said I'll see you in a couple weeks. I received a call from his office within a couple hours from leaving his office. His nurse told me that my hemoglobin was down to 9.9 and he put in orders for an upper/lower GI and a colonoscopy. He was looking for ulcer, polyps or cancer. I freaked out. Both my parents had died due to lung cancer and I feared cancer would eventually get me too. I started to go in "Fix me mold".

I did my prep and went to the hospital on Monday morning ready to see what is going on with my body. I returned to my room after the procedure and remember my doctor coming in and says "I'm 99 % sure we are dealing with colon cancer". My world stopped! I felt like I had just been ran over by a semi truck. I instantly thought of my two boys. I wanted to see them graduate, get married and have kids.

I was referred to the best surgeon since that was the only choice I had was to remove the cancer. The biopsy confirmed by cancer diagnosis. Surgery was performed on June 19, 2013. I had a right hemicolectomy performed and 27 lymph nodes removed. 5 nodes tested positive. Chemotherapy started on July 24, 2013 and my last needle was removed on January 1, 2014. I feel great! My scans in December were all clear. I have a positive outlook on life. I know I will be around to see my boys grow in life.

I am forever grateful to Dr. Pete for being proactive in my treatment. My sister, Sara, is my life savior. I am so glad she is here protecting "her children". To my gastrologist, surgeon, oncologist and all the nurses who cared for me I am forever thankful for what all you did for my family and I in helping us get through this small journey. God Bless, Virginia Payne"

--Virginia Payne, Kentucky

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