Lisa's wish

Lisa_Burns

Lisa Burns wanted to see more blue.

As a soccer mom, the Indiana woman would go to games and see parents propped up in pink chairs, or pink ribbons dotting ads and other materials, and wonder why there wasn’t more blue for colon cancer, her mom Phyllis Turner remembers.

“Her two wishes were that they would lower the age for colon cancer checks. Instead of saying 50, it needs to be at least 40, but 35 would be great,” Phyllis said. “And she wanted the color blue to be as popular as pink.”

Lisa, a former funeral director and embalmer at Owen Funeral Home in Louisville, was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 41. She’d been seeing blood in her bowel movements for four or five years, but “her doctor just kept telling her it was hemorrhoids, and she needed to lose weight because she was overweight,” Phyllis said.

At at gynecologist appointment, Lisa’s physician told her the bleeding wasn’t normal and advised a colonoscopy immediately.

Lisa went. And she learned she had Stage IV colon cancer.

Colon Cancer didn’t run in the family, and Lisa didn’t know anything about it.

“That was the furthest thing from our minds,” Phyllis said.

What followed included a cocktail of chemotherapy and surgery.

“She was a fighter until the end,” Phyllis said. “People would look at her and not even know she was sick. She never looked sick, never, not up until the last six weeks.”

Lisa died at age 43. She was survived by her husband, Michael Burns, and a young daughter Madi and son Mason.  

“When these cancers occur in these women that are young, these children lose their mothers,” Phyllis said.

--- Phyllis Turner, Milltown, Indiana

Read a poem by Lisa's daughter Madi here.

Comments  

 
0 #1 Kimberly Bishop 2013-08-01 12:58
Hi Phyllis! So very sorry to hear Lisa's story. It angers me that she and other young patients like myself were dismissed until we had late stage cancers. I too would like to see WAY more blue out there and proudly display my blue star and tell my story in hope that we can save lives. Doctors are all about pushing the mammography thing, which is great. But women need to realize that colorectal cancer claims more lives each year than breast cancer and HIV combined - that's HUGE! Boobs are not the only thing to worry about!! I'll keep doing what I can so that Lisa and others' lives were not lost in vain. Check out my story on this forum: http://coloncancerpreventionproject.org/stories/stories.html
Best to you,
Kimberly Bishop-Hargis
Stg III Rectal Cancer survivor, dx. Feb 2007 at age 34
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