Stage 4 Colon Cancer Survivor Celebrates 3 Years Cancer Free!

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.

Be well!

ingebird

Chapter #4 “Who Farted?” (From My Book “Rectal Cancer My Ass”)

After my ass was cauterized, the tumor stopped bleeding and I was happy about that but I was not allowed anything to eat except ice chips because my colon was a mess (My words, not my docs). My rectum had to heal and that would take time. The last thing I needed was to start bleeding again. On day three of no solid food, I offered my nurse twenty bucks if she would give me a Saltine cracker. To my delight she handed me a menu and said I could eat whatever I wanted. Yay! Hospital food never tasted so good!

Now that I was eating I figured I could go home but ..no. Now I had to wait until I pooped…and then I could go home. Pooping took another day and a half and I won’t lie to you…it hurt like hell!

But I got to go home.

My son picked me up and our first stop before heading home was to Sprout’s grocery store. I wanted to stock my frig with healthy food and my son wanted a sandwich from the deli.

Everything was fine until “It” happened, that silent but deadly fart. I’ve had some stinky gas before, but ever since my rectum was cauterized, my gas was lethal and all I could do was hope none of the poor, unsuspecting people standing in the deli line in front of us noticed.

A few seconds later my son turned to me and asked, “Mom is that you?” and I burst out laughing. By now a few of the customers looked around (probably for an exit door). It was really awful but what could I do? So, I did what I always do when I’m in an embarrassing situation… I laugh!

Luckily the line moved quickly and before I knew it my son got his sandwich and we were on our way home where I could (and did) fart as much as I wanted and this time I could blame it on the dog.

Be well!

ingebird

“3 Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong” ~ Excerpt From Marc & Angel Hack Life

The following post is from an email I received from Marc and Angel angelc@marcandangel.com. https://www.facebook.com/marcandangelhacklife/

“Today, I’m sitting in my hospital bed waiting to have both my breasts removed. But in a strange way I feel like the lucky one. Up until now I have had no health problems. I’m a 69-year-old woman in the last room at the end of the hall before the pediatric division of the hospital begins. Over the past few hours I have watched dozens of cancer patients being wheeled by in wheelchairs and rolling beds. None of these patients could be a day older than 17.”

That’s an entry from my grandmother’s journal, dated 9/16/1977. I photocopied it and pinned it to my bulletin board about a decade ago. It’s still there today, and it continues to remind me that there is always, always, always something to be thankful for. And that no matter how good or bad I have it, I must wake up each day thankful for my life, because someone somewhere else is desperately fighting for theirs.

Truth be told, happiness is not the absence of problems, but the ability to deal with them. Imagine all the wondrous things your mind might embrace if it weren’t wrapped so tightly around your struggles. Always look at what you have, instead of what you have lost. Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left.

1. Pain is part of growing.

Sometimes life closes doors because it’s time to move forward. And that’s a good thing because we often won’t move unless circumstances force us to. When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Good things take time. Stay patient and stay positive. Everything is going to come together; maybe not immediately, but eventually.

Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.

2. Every little struggle is a step forward.

In life, patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard on your dreams, knowing that the work is worth it. So if you’re going to try, put in the time and go all the way. Otherwise, there’s no point in starting. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what, or sleeping where, you’re used to, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a nonstop case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing relationships and all that’s familiar. It could mean accepting ridicule from your peers. It could mean lots of time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is the gift that makes great things possible. It gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you really want it.

And if you want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine. You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path. And it’s worth it. So if you’re going to try, go all the way. There’s no better feeling in the world… there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.

3. The best thing you can do is to keep going.

Don’t be afraid to get back up – to try again, to love again, to live again, and to dream again. Don’t let a hard lesson harden your heart. Life’s best lessons are often learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. There will be times when it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong. And you might feel like you will be stuck in this rut forever, but you won’t. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to arrive at your best.

Yes, life is tough, but you are tougher. Find the strength to laugh every day. Find the courage to feel different, yet beautiful. Find it in your heart to make others smile too. Don’t stress over things you can’t change. Live simply. Love generously. Speak truthfully. Work diligently. And even if you fall short, keep going. Keep growing.

Awake every morning and do your best to follow this daily TO-DO list:

– Think positively.
– Eat healthy.
– Exercise today.
– Worry less.
– Work hard.
– Laugh often.
– Sleep well.

Be well,

ingebird