When you’re a full-time, accomplished executive that exceeds in all aspects of life, the idea of life-changing cancer is unthinkable. The diagnosis of stage IV colorectal cancer, with no known risk factors, threw Stacy Hurt’s life into a whirlwind of unexpected change and an uncertain future.
With two beautiful sons (one severely disabled with multiple special needs), a supportive husband, and a reputable career with award winning accomplishments, Stacy Hurt was treasuring her full life. But then a colonoscopy revealed a tumor in her rectum so large (11 cm) that her GI doctor could not get the scope around it to view the rest of the colon. She was completely obstructed. A PET scan revealed cancer also in her liver, lungs, and lymph nodes. The diagnosis could not be explained and that frustration and lack of control only fueled her to eventually want to educate and unite a community.
“I’m an A++++ person. I’m a control freak perfectionist so when I was diagnosed, of course the first thing that I said was, ‘how did this even happen?’ I did everything right. I am a rule follower. I lived healthy. I ate healthy. I acted healthy. So to me, this was all very unfair and cruel. I am an innately happy, energetic upbeat person and I try to radiate kindness. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong to deserve this.”
Immediately she adopted a lifestyle that would afford control and ultimately, the best results. She focused on fighting the disease from within and on building her immune system.“I tried to look at what was in my control,” she said. “I did a ton of research about colorectal cancer, about risk factors, nutrition, and about treatments that were data based. I immersed myself in knowledge of how to beat colorectal cancer. I went completely hard core to a regimen of no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no processed foods, and low sodium. I ate red skin grapes like they were going out of style! I combined conventional medicine with integrative techniques. I took charge of all of the elements that were in my control to empower me to beat the disease. It was really a mental, physical, emotional journey for me because of how it all flowed together. I feel at my best when I’m doing something or helping someone, so that really gave me strength.”
Stacy miraculously achieving NED (no evidence of disease) status and did not require a colostomy. Her incredible response to chemotherapy led to not requiring rectal radiation, and Stacy attributes her success to her focus and fierce determination to never give up.
Her NED status coupled with a type-A personality inspired her to increase awareness of colorectal cancer to the world. “I am defying all of the odds. I should be dead. As long as I am here kicking and breathing, I should be helping. I want to motivate and unite others to take action against this disease as much as possible to end it. There is so much hope!”
Stacy’s commitment to increase awareness and unite a community aligns with the mission of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, which is to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. “To me being an ally is really uniting as many people, forces, or in my case, modalities of treatment, to fight this disease. To be an ally to me is to stand together against this common enemy of CRC. For me it was uniting a bunch of treatments: diet, exercise, movement, nutrition, mindfulness, and resources to combat this disease.”
When a type A meets cancer head on, expect the unexpected. To learn more about Stacy Hurt and her incredible journey, visit her website. To connect with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, visit ccalliance.org or call our national hotline at 877-422-2030.
In March, we observe National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Join us as we build our nation of passionate allies, fiercely determined to end this disease within our lifetime.
This story is made possible by generous support from Boehringer Ingelheim.