My name is Teri Griege and I’m a wife and mother of two. I participate in National Dress in Blue Day because I’m a stage IV colon cancer survivor and I want to help the whole world go blue.
In September 2009, when I was just 48, I started noticing blood in my stool. I mentioned the symptoms to my friend’s husband, who happened to be a gastroenterologist. Just two weeks after completing the Ironman Louisville Triathlon (swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles), I went in for a colonoscopy. I was almost immediately diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer with metastases in my liver.
I learned about the Colon Cancer Alliance (CCA) immediately after I was diagnosed. I found the CCA to have the most complete and educational website. I signed up for the newsletter, followed them on Facebook and joined the My CCA Support Online Community. From there, I’ve continued to get more involved, forming a team and speaking at the Undy 5000 5K in St. Louis and attending the 2012 CCA National Conference, where I was given the Sapphire Distinguished Service Award.
Within weeks of my diagnosis, my two sisters (who are 13 and 14 years older than me) went in for colonoscopies. And I’m so thankful they did. One of my sisters had precancerous polyps removed and the other was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. Since then, I’ve received short-course radiation, a total of 12 rounds of chemotherapy and a colon and liver resection. I am now on maintenance chemo and targeted therapy.
During therapy I continued to train. Defying odds, I competed in the 2011 Ironman World Championship. I was featured as an inspirational athlete on the NBC Ironman broadcast and seen worldwide. Because of this, many opportunities have become available for me to share my story and spread my message of inspiration and hope. I’m happy to share my story because it’s important for patients and survivors to know they shouldn’t fight this battle alone and they can never, ever, ever, ever give up!
Each day I wake up grateful and am thankful for all the people supporting me in this battle. Presently, my sister is cancer-free and I continue the fight.
What would I love to see in the future? We cannot allow the national screening rate to decrease – screening saves lives! So, we need to help people overcome the resistance to screening prep. Colon cancer is the only preventable cancer and that can be accomplished with screening. Also, screening allows for early detection which leads to better outcomes. Screening means this cancer is preventable, treatable, beatable!
Teri Griege, 51
Stage IV survivor