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.