My name is Bill McGinley. I am happily married to a beautiful woman named Kim, who I cherish, and I am the proud father of four wonderful daughters, Kaeleigh, Alleigh, Rowyn, and Ryleigh, all blessings, who keep me on the straight and narrow! I was originally diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer at age 40. I was very fortunate that after a year of treatment, comprising of a month of radiation, followed by surgery and then adjuvant chemotherapy, I was No Evidence of Disease (NED) for 10 years. Unfortunately, in January 2018, at the age of 50, as a result of routine annual testing, I discovered that my cancer had returned, this time as stage 4, with early metastases in my lungs and my belly (retroperitoneum).
I was devastated when I learned the news. After 10 years, when I thought for certain that my cancer was in the rear-view mirror, it reared its ugly head again. The discovery was a very dark time for us. We had just finished a major renovation on our home, my career was flying high, and “life was going great”. After a couple days of tears and very brief meetings with doctors, with my head spinning, I had the good sense to reach out to Filomena Servidio-Italiano at Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network (CCRAN), for the second time in my life, for the purpose of finding hope and light in our time of darkness.
Filomena and her advocacy and support group had played a big role in getting me through the darkness and into the light 10 years earlier – so it was instinct for me to reach out to her again for help. Filomena instantly remembered me and while she was upset to learn that my cancer had returned, she was positive and upbeat, right from the “get-go”, that she and CCRAN would accompany me on the second leg of my cancer journey, providing advocacy and support, for the purpose of achieving the best outcome possible.
The CCRAN advocacy and support group that meets every third Sunday of the month is more than a collection of patients. It is full of care givers and family members and is led by skilled advocates and facilitators. It is a community of people coming together to learn about their disease or well being as well as to share their journey for the purpose of feeling better, learning how to access the best care possible through the best doctors possible or how to put their best foot forward in staying well. The information provided during the monthly CCRAN meetings prepares me to ask my oncologist questions important to me during my visits with her. CCRAN has helped me access one of the top surgical oncologists in Canada. And sharing my journey with the group as well as being part of their journey, through sharing, is soothing for the soul.
It has been 2 years now since my diagnosis in January 2018. After 24 months of chemotherapy, I am blessed to be in a period of remission. My latest CT scans show 95% of the tumours have resolved. I have actually taken chemo holidays throughout these past two years which have been wonderful. I am optimistic about my meeting with the oncologist but no matter what the news, I am prepared to tackle things head on, with faith, the love of family and friends and the continued advocacy and support of Filomena and Colorectal Cancer Resource & Action Network.