The following is a post written by a stage 4 cancer survivor. I got her permission to share her story here. Her name is Dawn Eicher and she is a cancer warrior:
Q: How do you get you through a terrible situation, survive tragedy, overwhelming odds and unbearable pain?
A: You dream big and aim for the sky!
During my years of treatment for stage IV colon cancer, I hit many lows. As you can imagine, much of it has been quite unpleasant. Cancer treatment includes party favors such as high doses of radiation, second degree burns, chemo pumps I wore delivering poison 24/7 directly into my heart. I developed a fatty liver from chemo, mouth/throat sores, stomach cramps, permanent loss of bodily function, UTIs. I experienced extreme nausea (like “worst hangover of your life” mixed with “the worst flu you’ve ever experienced” nausea), major fatigue (like “can’t get out of bed except to pee” tired), 14 new holes in my body due to laparoscopic surgery, loss of internal organs followed by post surgical pain @ an 11 (the scale is 1-10, so this qualifies as “off-the-charts-didn’t-care-if-I-lived-or-died extreme levels of pain”). I had drains coming out of my body, so many scans and pin pricks I’ve lost count, ileostomy bags, chemo sensitivity (when you swallow water if feels like shards of glass in your throat), and I was on powerful narcotics for months at a time. All of these “gifts” were wrapped up in a neat cancer package and accompanied by the constant fear of losing my life. It was and still is very overwhelming at times. Can you say PTSD??!!
Sometimes I wonder how I made it through. Many times during treatment I couldn’t even distract myself by watching TV or reading because I was so sick I couldn’t open my eyes. However, in the far recesses of my mind I found a way to “escape” my bedridden hell by frequently dreaming of tropical isles, pristine beaches and overwater bungalows. I promised myself and Mike that IF I beat those stupid, grim 8% odds of survival and made it to 3 years of remission, we would celebrate as a family and take the trip of a lifetime. I dreamt of taking our family to paradise and making memories that last forever. These daydreams got me through the darkest of days.
Well, this month marks three years in remission! This month I reach the far end of the survival “bell curve” and today we head out on the trip of a lifetime. I will no longer dream of overwater bungalows, we will stay IN ONE! Orana Bora Bora and Aloha Aulani. We will Carpe that Diem and #CannonballLife Here’s to fulfilling wildest dreams and living life like everyday day is your last. So grateful for this second chance at life. I will keep dreaming big and reaching for the sky.
Now this is an awesome story!
If you have a cancer journey story you would like to share, please leave me a comment.