I have been overweight almost my entire life. With so many medical problems (oxygen 24 hours a day, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea), I finally decided to have weight loss surgery in February of 2005. I saw a doctor who specialized in weight loss/weight control, and my info was sent to my insurance company. I was approved for surgery in January 2006. Surgery was scheduled for May 2, 2006. By April 2006, all my pre-op tests were done. One week before my surgery I received a call from my doctor. She told me that my blood test indicated that I was very anemic (my hemoglobin was 9) and that she wanted me to come in to have an additional blood test done.
The next day, my primary care physician called to inform me that I needed to schedule an appointment immediately with the gastroenterologist for a consultation because she was afraid that I was losing blood somewhere. During my consult, the gastroenterologist went over my history and told me that he wanted to check my colon with a colonoscopy. I was scheduled have that done on the same day as my weight loss surgery had been scheduled for, however, by now my weight loss surgery had been postponed. I had my colonoscopy on May 2, 2006; I was not asleep during the procedure, so I was talking to my doctor and nurse and watching everything on the monitor. We came upon something that looked like a huge cauliflower with blood in it. My doctor told me it was a polyp, and that he thought it was cancerous. On May 5, 2006 the doctor called and informed me that it was cancer and that I needed to see the surgeon right away.
On May 22, 2006 I had surgery to remove the right side of my colon and appendix. Out of 40 lymph nodes, 1 was positive. I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. I underwent chemotherapy every 2 weeks for 6 months, which consisted of Oxaliplatin, Leucovorin, and Fluorouracil (5FU). Towards the end, the Oxaliplatin was stopped because I could no longer tolerate it.
I have to say that this has certainly been a very eye-opening experience for me and my family, but we got through it with a lot of positive thoughts and prayers. If there is one thing that I will remember for the rest of my life, it will be the cancer. I would not wish that on anybody. As of April 30, 2007, I am cancer-free, and although I still have some anemia issues, I am doing very well.
By-the-way, on July 30, 2007, I underwent gastric bypass surgery for weight loss. Now I am off all my diabetic medicines and my blood pressure is really great, I am down to one blood pressure pill a day compared to taking two different kind of blood pressure pills twice a day; no more wearing oxygen and my sleep apnea is gone. I still have a long way to go with the weight, but I am taking one step at a time. My highest weight was 445 pounds in 2005; by the time I had my weight loss surgery, I was 387 pounds. When I look back at some of my pictures I have to wonder how I made it. I do believe that if I had not made the decision to have the weight loss surgery, the doctors may not have found the cancer until it was too late. Today, I am 240 and still losing!
Being a CCA Buddy gives me a chance to tell my story, which to me is about surprise, fear, determination, survival, and a whole lot of prayers and positive thoughts. I want whomever I have as a Buddy to know we can get through this together. To keep positive thoughts. Cry if you want to, but never give up the fight. Ask your doctor questions and if it is something you don't understand, and let the doctor know so they can explain it to you in a different way. Get involved with the course of treatment that is recommended to you. This is all about you and you are not alone. This is why I like being a Buddy -- to help as many people as I can.