Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Story

I guess I need to back up and give a little bit more information about what happened and why I'm here (rather than at work where I've been for the past 20 years)!

July 16, 2008 was a life changing moment for me. I woke up after a colonscopy to hear the nurses trying to find Steve. They immediately whisked him off to a room and closed the door with the doctor and two assistants. I knew something was wrong. Very quickly he came out of that room towards me with a face I'll never forget. "Leah, they found a tumor, it's bad, you have to have surgery, I'm serious". Those who know Steve knows he likes to joke but I never thought for one minute any of it was a joke. I immediately was sent for all the post operative testing, etc. to prepare me for surgery.

It was at this time we began searching for most experienced doctor in the area in this field. I ended up at Emory with a Surgeon (Dr. Charles Staley) that came highly recommended from his peers. Thanks to my cousin, Becky who while on dialysis, was researching the best doctors for me.

I had an anterior colon resection surgery on 7/23/08. They removed about 10-12 inches of my colon and left me with an incision starting with a few inches beyond my belly button, down and around my belly to the lowest point they could cut. The Surgeon mentioned that it was a good thing that I was young and flexible, otherwise they would have had to cut more than double my current incision (guess I would have been cut all the way to my throat) ha.

My tumor was the size of a large apple which had grown all through the colon walls into 1 lymph node of 11. They determined that I'm in Stage 3 Colon Cancer with only a 50% survival rate without chemo (basically a matter of time). With chemo, my survival jumps to 70-75%.

They aren't really sure where this came from because I do not have family history of colon cancer. Only polyps that formed after the age of 50 in my grandfather and uncle. The Surgeon told me that I had an old person's disease but aren't sure why? The doctors made it very clear that my siblings needed to have colonscopies. It is much more aggressive in younger people. They think mine grew in 6-9 months and to think I thought I was having side effects from medicine I take for restless legs.

My great physician is the Lord but until he determines the time for me to be healed or to meet him, I'm doing what the doctors tell me to do. My family, friends and Co-workers have been unbelievable with their support, prayers, cards, visits, gifts....I feel so blessed and ultimately guilty for putting my family through this. This wasn't a journey I chose for myself, however some things are out of our control. The one thing in my control is to decide where I want to be when my journey ends. I think you know the rest of story....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We are praying for you!!! We love you!! Stay strong!!
David & Christy