Five years ago -- on March 27, 2012, to be exact -- I heard the words that strike fear in the hearts of millions of people every year: "You have cancer."
Stage-3b rectal cancer, to be exact. After a very difficult and very public treatment journey that included radiation and oral chemo, surgery that altered by body forever, and six months of infusion chemo, I finished treatment. The odds of recurrence were very high -- 80% in the first two years.
Remarkably, I made it past those two years. By my surgeon's standards, that alone was miracle enough. People who get my diagnosis are usually still sick or dead, he told me. I seemed to sail through, though, and my surgeon called me Superman.
So here I am, on the cusp of five years since my diagnosis. I didn't get here alone. My surgeon, the incredible Dr. Greg Midis, and my entire medical team got me through the treatment piece. My amazing caregiver, the lovely Sarah, made sure I was a compliant patient, loved me and worried about everything when I didn't have the energy. I certainly could not have survived cancer without her. My friend Zane was my biggest cheerleader, throughout the experience and in the years since. Work friends and colleagues in Knoxville and around the country made sure basic needs were met, like transportation to radiation treatment and meals while I recovered from surgery. They also cheered me up with literally hundreds of cowbells that were delivered to my desk throughout my cancer journey. Our church family -- especially pastors Amy, Steve and John -- cared for our spiritual needs. And family, friends and loved ones near and far showed Sarah and me more love and prayers than we could ever have asked or imagined during treatment and in the years since we announced my diagnosis to the world.
It takes a village to survive cancer. Today, I'm asking my village to help others by joining me in honoring my five-year milestone by donating to an organization that is very important to me – the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
ACS CAN is the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization encouraging lawmakers to support policies that lead to the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.
Like you, someone close to me has been touched by cancer. And, I want to move us closer to day when no ono else has to die from this terrible disease.
ACS CAN needs our support to encourage elected officials to do more in the fight against cancer. Together, we can unite the voices of cancer patients, their families and friends to make fighting cancer a national priority.
Please donate to my page to help me celebrate FIVE YEARS OF LIFE AFTER CANCER.
Contributions or gifts to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Inc. are not tax deductible.