I had absolutely no family history of colon cancer. I went and had an appointment with Dr. Leopold, my primary care doctor back in June and he said that I hadn’t had a colonoscopy in awhile. I didn’t like the thought of having to have a colonoscopy, because it’s embarrassing, but I knew it had been awhile so I went ahead and scheduled it for October.
After my colonoscopy, Dr. Carman came in and said he saw something the size of my husband’s thumb and he didn’t like the looks of it. So, he took some samples of the mass to send for testing. Results came back that there was something abnormal going on but he wasn’t quick to call it cancer. We just knew something needed to be done.
During the surgery, they removed part of my appendix and about one third of my colon. After they were able to do all that, of course more tests were run. They told me I was in the third stage of colon cancer. I had no family history or symptoms and then ‘WHAM!’ I was in stage three colon cancer. I was very surprised because I had no symptoms.
They instructed me that they would have to put in a port for me to be able to receive my treatment. I see Dr. Siva now every other week for treatment at Strecker Cancer Center.
What would you say to someone to encourage them to get a colonoscopy?
What I would say to someone who doesn’t want to get a colonoscopy is that you just need to go and do it. It’s something that you simply have to do. Getting a colonoscopy literally saved my life.
I was totally not expecting colon cancer, but we’re dealing with it. We’ve got lots of things we want to do so we’re just doing it. I have six more months of treatment. I finish up, hopefully, in June.
How has your experience been with us?
Dr. Siva is very nice and everyone at Strecker is nice and they always stay positive which is uplifting.
My experience with Strecker Cancer Center and Marietta Memorial Hospital has been a “just like home” experience. They treat us like family. We would hate to think of having to battle this and to have to drive hours away out of town. We’re really glad that we can just come here. This campus is about three miles away so it’s great having this kind of care right at home.
Day by Day
We’re doing this together and it’s not fun. It’s not fun to have fingers that are prickly all the time and you can’t even touch anything that’s cold because it can be painful. I wear the gloves not because my hands are cold but because my fingers are really sensitive. I was told this could happen as a side effect of my treatment. There are constant prickles on my hands and feet.
There are some things that you have to do on a daily basis to get ready like putting on face cream, for example. I have to put my face cream in the palm of my hand and let it warm up before putting it on my face with my fingers. If I don’t do that it feels like the cold is stabbing through my fingers. Common daily tasks have to be slightly modified and other things that you just don’t think about. The staff at Strecker is good about warning you about some of the potential things that can happen with treatment but other things you just have to find out on your own. There’s no manual for having cancer. So, we’re just making do and taking it day by day. The colonoscopy saved my life because we would have never known otherwise.
The next time I saw Dr. Leopold I gave him a big hug. I started crying…but, I thanked him for pushing me to get a colonoscopy because it saved my life.
Larry Hawn, Susan's husband
“We have grandchildren and we want to be able to see them grow up. There are things that drive you to keep pressing on and to remain healthy. She’s a very driven person and a “make it happen” kind of person. Like I said, we have children and grandchildren and they inspire us to keep living healthy.”