I will never forget the nurse coming out to get me and asking me to come back into the doctor’s office. It was my husband Geoff’s first routine colonoscopy. My heart sank as I had already been through this with my dad and knew it could not be good news. All I remember hearing was Stage III and looking at Geoff’s face. How could this be – no signs and he was so young (52) and healthy.
After the shock wore off, I was determined to find out everything I needed to do to help him get through this. Our journey began, and we went on to start our 12 rounds of chemo. We were fortunate enough to live right beside the Wellspring Cancer Centre in Oakville where we found out that a lady named Filomena Servidio-Italiano who ran a colorectal cancer information/support group met there once every month. Thank goodness we found this group. She was/is amazing. It was the first time we felt that maybe things will be alright. Her knowledge and connections were endless. I honestly don’t think she sleeps!!!
Geoff was given the all clear after his 12 rounds of chemo and we were thrilled. Then less than 2 years later it returned with a vengeance. Stage IV – colon, liver, lungs and bones. I remember calling Filomena in tears and she said, “there are no tears here, together we are going to fight”. The next thing I know, she made sure we got in to see one of the best doctors so we could find out what our options were. We started chemo again but unfortunately Geoff ended up with a fever after his 2nd round and was hospitalized and passed away after becoming septic 2 months later.
To this day I look back and ask myself if there was something more I could have done. Well, if you ask Filomena, who is relentless in the fight against Colon Cancer, there is!!! Her/my new mission is to bring awareness to the fact that we need to be screened much earlier. I am so grateful to know Filomena and having three daughters, who will need to be screened, you can bet I am right on board with her.