My Symptoms Were Dismissed as Hemorrhoids, but I Had Colon Cancer

My Symptoms Were Dismissed as Hemorrhoids, but I Had Colon Cancer

As informed to Liz Sauchelli

The day I obtained my colon cancer diagnosis, my husband and I bought a bottle of champagne. We have been driving residence from the hospital crying and I just explained, “Babe, we have to have to prevent and get a bottle of champagne due to the fact we’re going to toast to kicking cancer’s butt and becoming on the other aspect of this thing.” In the image I have from our toast that day, our eyes are swollen from tears.

My most cancers journey commenced approximately seven months before in January, when I was 47. I was experience lightheaded, dizzy and bloated. When I went to the toilet, I was not obtaining a entire bowel motion. My appetite had reduced and by the time I went to my OBGYN in March, I’d begun to notice a little bit of blood in my stool. My physician brushed it off and mentioned it was hemorrhoids, but I pushed back again. She agreed to purchase me a fecal occult check to see if they could detect cancer.

The exam came back again negative, but something nonetheless felt off, so I known as my physician again a couple months later on and requested her to plan a colonoscopy. In the months primary up to the process, my condition worsened. I could barely take in and the blood in my stool tremendously increased.

Kimberly with her champagne, celebrating \u201ckicking cancer\u2019s butt\u201d after her diagnosis, July 24, 2015.
Kimberly with her champagne, celebrating “kicking cancer’s butt” just after her analysis, July 24, 2015.

But when I went in for a check with prior to my colonoscopy, the medical professional was not even guaranteed if they were being heading to monitor me. Then I confirmed her a photograph of my bloody stool and her frame of mind completely changed. I got an appointment for the next 7 days.

At that point, I knew anything was seriously erroneous, so it was not a total shock when I woke up from my colonoscopy and the health care provider informed me I had a fist-sized, malignant tumor in my sigmoid colon. But he never ever reported the word “cancer.” My spouse and I experienced been laughing coming out of the anesthesia, but I stopped. “Wait, are you declaring I have most cancers?” I asked. The medical professional replied with a somber sure.

All the things shifted. The color in the space was distinct. It felt like a film dropped in excess of my eyes and from that point ahead, I observed the globe in a different way. Time appeared more finite.

I was a fast paced keep-at-property mom with a 7-, 10- and 12-year old, and I was generally on the go. At the time of my diagnosis, my children were browsing their grandparents in California, so my husband and I experienced a few of months to course of action the news ahead of sharing it with them.

Of class, they took it tricky since, even while they had been youthful, they understood the term cancer and they equate it with loss of life. We all started out to cry. I couldn’t guarantee them I was not heading to die — I just did not know. But I told them, “Hey, we’re heading to struggle this and we’re likely to get via it the greatest we can.” And that’s just what we did.

Existence turned a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments. I had 6 months of oral chemo and 33 radiation remedies to my pelvis to shrink the dimensions of the tumor. Then, 10 days in advance of my surgery to get rid of the tumor, I experienced a bowel perforation and obstruction. Just one of my youngsters uncovered me in the fetal place in the bathtub, and I explained to them to go get the neighbors. By the time they obtained me up and dressed, the ambulance rushed me to the medical center, where by I experienced emergency surgical procedure.

Recovery was slow. Immediately after 10 times in the medical center, I experienced six months of occupational and physical therapy to get started going for walks once more. The seriously great issue about it, while, was that it assisted me to halt and basically smell the flowers, to acquire in things that I would commonly just go by. As I utilised my walker to get all-around my neighborhood, I stopped to choose images of flowers and nature. For the initial time, I started to actually respect the very little matters.

Through the six months of chemo following my surgical procedure, I attempted to continue to be optimistic. Prior to likely in for chemo, I’d watch a comedy like “I Love Lucy” to elevate my mood. I’d do small exercises to get my endorphins up.

As optimistic as I have experimented with to be, there were many evenings I cried myself to sleep for the reason that I was in so much discomfort. I let myself grieve the parts of my physique that modified and acknowledge that what I missing was crucial. Then, I’d emphasis on the reality that I was continue to alive, that there have been methods I could still delight in existence. I cherish each individual working day I wake up following to my spouse and devote time with my small children.

Kimberly on a recent concert date night with her husband of nearly 23 years
Kimberly on a modern live performance day evening with her spouse of approximately 23 yrs, whom she describes as the “most compassionate caregiver” 2022.

I’d been explained to just before surgical procedure that I’d have an ostomy bag for 6 weeks, but due to the fact of the complications I suffered, that timeline was moved to two several years. I took it in stride. Following the two yrs have been up, I made the decision to retain the bag: Reversal surgical procedures can be very difficult on persons, and I did not want to set my human body by means of extra trauma.

I’ve now had my ostomy bag for six years and, in some means, it is been really freeing. Immediately after my prognosis, I struggled with how I seen my entire body. I preferred to reclaim my femininity and rebuild my toughness just after my human body was weakened by treatment. That is when I made the decision to consider up dancing.

Burlesque and pole dance are art sorts that I’ve usually cherished to enjoy, but I never imagine I at any time imagined I’d attempt them. But after my prognosis, I had the bravery to do so. Pole dancing enhanced my strength following my entire body was weakened by remedy. I also started out undertaking, which has assisted me make my self-assurance and experience much more cozy in my overall body as it is now. When I dance, I proudly display off my ostomy bag. It is element of who I am and what I have survived.

Five yrs soon after I was declared most cancers-free of charge, I was identified with ischemic colitis, which means the arteries in my colon are setting up to die. I have been on distinctive medications and bouts of bed relaxation as the health professionals operate to figure out the root result in.

But I keep on to preserve my spirits up. I dance, I roller-skate and I go on to advocate for persons who have colon cancer. I by no means imagined I would look back 6 several years following my analysis and be thankful that I was enriched by that journey. Each and every working day, I choose a instant to concentration on the fact that I’m nonetheless in this article — and I can even now appreciate my existence.

This source was produced with help from Merck.