My life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer at the age of 35. I was an avid runner, played sports, and regularly worked out. I ate mostly a plant-based diet and by all accounts had a very healthy lifestyle. I thought cancer was something I would need to be mindful of later in life – I was completely devastated hearing the news of my illness.
My doctors provided very grim statistics related to my survival as the main metastatic spread was in my liver. I was given one treatment option – chemotherapy for life. I was told surgery would never be an option. I was feeling scared, hopeless, depressed and very isolated.
Once I connected with CCRAN I felt empowered as a patient. The organization took the time to listen to my case and my unique concerns as a patient. They provided education, direction and gave me the confidence to seek further opinions and treatment options. Rather than feeling like a passive participant in my cancer care, I was beginning to feel like I had some control in how things should move forward. My mood and outlook changed for the better.
The organization runs a support group and I was able to connect with other colon cancer patients. It is difficult to cope with various changes related to this illness. Connecting with other cancer patients and understanding how they cope with family issues, financial worries, role changes and treatment side effects has been extremely helpful.
As for my treatment – with the support of CCRAN, I subsequently moved to a different province and received liver surgery! While my cancer journey is far from over, I am very hopeful about my future knowing that I have someone in my corner to support me.