I'm Not Average: Kris T.
Familial Adenomatous Polyposis/Stage III colorectal cancer survivor
In 1996, when most of my friends were trying to survive their first year of college, I was just trying to survive.
Because of my family history, I went in for my first
colonoscopy at age 18. What was supposed to be a routine screening turned into
a nightmare. My doctors found that my colon was full of polyps and was
unsalvageable. In the coming months, I had my colon removed and I received a
temporary ileostomy, which basically means that my small intestine was
temporarily brought through an opening in my lower abdomen, requiring that I
use an ileostomy bag. During that surgery, my doctors found a tumor and
diagnosed me with Stage III colorectal cancer.
After many years of surgeries, suffering, and recovery, I
finally decided to have a permanent ileostomy, which has made a huge difference
in my life. I could be the ostomy poster child. I want people to be confident
in themselves and with their ostomy, which is my motivation for speaking out
and staying active.
I’ve made it through the last 20 years of complications,
surgeries, and recoveries through my support system – God, family, and
unconditional love from my friends. I know that cancer doesn’t end when
treatments are over, but there is life after cancer. Cancer did a number on my
body, but through it all, I’m still here. It’s not our afflictions that define
us, but how we choose to deal with them.