At less than 40 years old, Kristi Goochey is way too young to be a colon cancer survivor. But that is exactly what she is.
Kristi is, by her own admission, one of the fortunate ones. After experiencing abdominal pain for several weeks, she finally decided to see her doctor. Unlike many young people, her doctor immediately ordered a colonoscopy and other tests early on. The tests revealed a tumor in her colon as well as on her liver and an artery – both of which would have gone undetected otherwise.
This would be grim news for anyone. It was made even tougher by the fact that Kristi’s two daughters were three and five when she was diagnosed. Kristi realized that she had to do whatever it took, no matter the cost, to make sure her kids still had a mom.
Kristi read a book to her daughters comparing cancer to a weed. The book explained that weeds can be pulled or poisoned. Her five year old daughter understood the analogy, but her three year old still has trouble understanding. Now, when her three year old plays with dolls, she’ll say the doll is tired because it just had a radiation treatment, or just had a port put in.
After surgery, chemo and radiation, Kristi is in remission. She says her family is different now. They all appreciate family-time and being together more. Kristi tries not to let little things bother her, and takes time every day to appreciate her family and life.
Kristi’s biggest piece of advice to a newly diagnosed patient is: “At your lowest low, stay positive and have faith.”
Today, Kristi is back at work, helping mentally challenged adults. She also coaches a girls’ swim team in the evenings. Her husband has helped encourage her to get back into coaching saying, “You can’t spend your life waiting for the cancer to come back.”
Her involvement with the CCA’s Blue Note Fund began like many others’. She was looking for help paying medical bills. She owed over $34,000 in medical expenses and, among other things, her first colonoscopy had not been covered by insurance. Looking for help, she called another cancer organization, who referred her to the Colon Cancer Alliance and the Blue Note Fund. Kristi was one of the first recipients of the Blue Note Fund. We are so happy that we were there to help her.