I became a Buddy with the CCA when I found them about 6 months after my initial surgery and treatment. It took me a while to find the CCA and the ACOR colon list, because I was so sick from the chemo. When I did, it opened up so many avenues to communicate with people that were experiencing the same things I was going through, such as diarrhea and all the other ailments that come with treatment. It also helped to alleviate my fears that every pain and all the other side effects weren't normal. That was so reassuring to me when I needed it.
I felt that I needed to bring this reassurance to those recently diagnosed, so that they would feel that what they were going through during treatment was indeed normal. Doctors don't tell you this. Chemo nurses do. Survivors, however, can be the best people to listen to when you need help with everyday problems dealing with the disease. I have had many Buddies these past years. Some still communicate, and others only need minimal contact. It has been most gratifying to help others, and I have learned so much from them.
I am an 11-year survivor of rectal cancer, and a six-year survivor of a metastasis to the lung. The first time around, I underwent six months of chemo and 7-1/2 weeks of radiation. I am grateful to be alive today.
At my first diagnosis in 1998, I made some goals. The main one was to be able to live long enough for my 2 granddaughters to remember me. They were 4 and 8 at the time and were an integral part of my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I might be alive to celebrate so many birthdays and milestones. My oldest is now going to embark on her senior year in high school, and I will be there for that memorable graduation event.
In 1998, I was given a prognosis of a one in three chance of surviving five years. Those were not good odds! Statistics are only numbers, though, and there are many of us who beat them. Advances in treatment are certainly helping us, and I know the future looks promising for treating colon cancer as a chronic disease. I am living proof of that.