My story: I was diagnosed at age 42


"I experienced cancer of the colon duct C at 42 years of age (1988).  The doctors knew there was infection but were not sure from where at time of surgery.  They did hysterectomy and found a grapefruit size tumor in my colon.  They took it out and put in a colostomy.  This was all a huge surprise to me and my family.  I was in the hospital a month.  I did radiation (all the radiation I could have).

In l989 Dr. Anthony George prepared to turn my colostomy but I was burnt from the radiation.  In November 1989 another pea-size tumor was found that had not been spotted by all the cat scans.  A piece of an apple got lodged which caused tremendous pain.  I had surgery and the diagnosis was possibly terminal.

In 1990 I did a full year of chemo which was most difficult.  I worked the entire year and wore a heplock.  I asked God to allow me to see my youngest daughter 18 years old.  I was a single parent.

My youngest turned 18 in 1999…a very tearful event for me.  Every day was a gift to me..and still is.

After all three daughters married in one year (Nov. 2002 to July 2003) I discovered in August that I had a grape-size tumor on my rectum.  This was found in an every three year colonoscopy by Dr. George’s staff.  I had two options:  to get a permanent colostomy by closing my rectum or try a j-pouch.  I have a j-pouch.  Dr. Susan Galanduik, an awesome colo-rectal surgeon, did two surgeries on me in 2003.   I had to do 6 months of chemo that caused a lot of pain and tears.  Yet, I worked through the entire treatment…always with God’s help.

This is my story.  I am 65 and very healthy and very active.  I have so much to be thankful  for.  I want to give back in some small way.

 I retired from being a Licensed Clinical social worker in Dec. 2010 to care for my grandson who was born with gastroschisis.

He is the one turning a year very soon."

----Mary O’Neill

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