Awareness is the best medicine I remember many things from my battl [...]READ MORE
Hi, I’m Stephanie Budgell, a colorectal cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed in March 2020 at the age of 35. You could say before my diagnosis I was living my best life: married to a loving husband, raising two kids aged 2 and 4, mid-career, and what I thought was the healthiest time in my life.
As a mom with two young children, I was either pregnant or breastfeeding for a few years and I chalked up any mild symptoms up to that. Pregnancy can cause similar symptoms as colorectal cancer. It wasn’t until my son was 18 months that I made an appointment with my family doctor. My symptoms were mild, but blood in my stool and a change in bowel habits made me think something was off.
Thankfully my family doctor scheduled a colonoscopy right away. This is not always the case for early onset colorectal cancer patients. I was diagnosed with rectal cancer on the same day the world went into lockdown due to Covid-19. Talk about your world falling apart. Further tests were done: a whirlwind of bloodwork, CT scans, and MRIs. I was determined to be stage 4 with metastases to the liver.
I couldn’t understand how I had Stage 4 colorectal cancer and seemed so healthy. Isn’t colon cancer an older person’s disease?! I ate well, ran half marathons, and exercised regularly. I lived my life doing everything in my power not to get cancer. I was angry and in complete shock. Treatment was started with six months of chemotherapy, FOLFOXIRI, and a targeted therapy, Panitumumab. I remember looking around the treatment centre on my first day and not seeing a young face in the crowd. I was mad and jealous of the older people that got to live a full life before getting cancer. Grief is funny that way. Luckily, the treatment worked well and it shrunk the liver metastases enough to be operational but the side effects were terrible.
I developed neuropathy and a horrible face rash, fatigue and hair loss. However, I was determined to push through. I spent the summer in lockdown with my family still hiking, going to the beach, camping and trying to make the most of our time together. In the month of August I completed a 500km bike challenge and raised $3,000 for Sick Kids while receiving my final round of chemotherapy.
Following chemotherapy, I had a liver resection in October 2020. They took about 70% of my liver during that seven hour operation. The recovery went well with no complications despite having to parent two toddlers.
In November 2020 I completed a short course of radiation on my rectum to stop any other potential spread of the disease.
December 17, 2020 I was back in the hospital again for an Abdominal Perineal Resection (APR) which resulted in a permanent colostomy. I remember looking down at my body after surgery and thinking wow how will I ever feel like a normal person again. My body was taken apart and put back together a little differently but I’m still here. I was released from hospital on December 23 just in time to make it home to my family for Christmas.
I’m happy to say I do feel like a normal person again. Different, but normal. I’m still struggling with the mental toll of not being in active treatment, navigating life with an ostomy bag, and fear of recurrence. However, life goes on and I’m thankful for every milestone I get to see my children achieve. My family keeps me pushing for more time.
Lisa Martin is a stage II colorectal cancer survivor and a passionate advo [...]READ MORE
Gordon was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer at the age of 48. After num [...]READ MORE
Sam was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and Lynch syndrome when she was 2 [...]READ MORE
To donate: https://ccc.akaraisin.com/ui/bashforhope “Hope is all yo [...]READ MORE
In just one moment, your life can completely change. Last year, I h [...]READ MORE
“You have cancer.” To me, when it’s regarding my own health, those words s [...]READ MORE
Claudia was diagnosed with early age onset colorectal cancer and Lynch s [...]READ MORE
It has been 10 years since my husband Steve Lisiak lost his incredibly b [...]READ MORE
The whole cancer experience really challenged me - mentally, physically, [...]READ MORE
My day started as it always did: I was woken up by my five year old da [...]READ MORE
Hi, my name is Haydn Bechthold and I’m a 22-year-old who is currently figh [...]READ MORE
In the year 2000, my Mom’s world was turned upside down when she was diagn [...]READ MORE
In 2006 I started Dress in Blue Day at my children's k-8 school. I had bee [...]READ MORE
When I was 35 years old my sister was 45. She was diagnosed with stage 4 c [...]READ MORE
Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Pierre, who was diagno [...]READ MORE
I was diagnosed at 29. I was 9 months pregnant with my daughter and my tod [...]READ MORE
My name is Stephen. Thank you for allowing me to tell you my story. Up [...]READ MORE
The day will be etched in my memory forever. On February 28, 2006 afte [...]READ MORE
In early December 2016, Klumak was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic colo [...]READ MORE
It was the day of the lockdown. My family doctor called. “The colorectal c [...]READ MORE
I am grateful. I am grateful for the storm and I am grateful for all the m [...]READ MORE
My story begins when I was 30 years old. I had started directing theatre a [...]READ MORE
The colonoscopy room seemed small when filled with bizarre equipment. My [...]READ MORE
My name is Gemma (Filipino-Canadian). I have colorectal cancer, stage 3B [...]READ MORE
I recently had the distinct pleasure of attending the Brice Tiamuh Blue R [...]READ MORE
It was the summer of 2009 and I was only 21 years old...My mother, who was [...]READ MORE
When I was 49 years old, I conducted the FIT (fecal) test as instructed by [...]READ MORE
I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at a young age – 36 years old and 8 [...]READ MORE
Hi, my name is Gilda. Our story starts out like many others who are diagno [...]READ MORE
I would like to thank Colorectal Cancer Canada (CCC) for their ongoing hel [...]READ MORE