“I am happy to be cancer-free and celebrating another year of life. But I know I am one of the lucky few, as colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States.”
- Condition: Stage 3 Colon Cancer
- Age: 34
- Location: Yardley , Pennsylvania
I went out for Happy Hour with a few friends after work on a random Wednesday night. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary except for the mild cramping in my lower right abdomen. Over the course of the evening, the cramps grew more frequent and aggressive. My appetite for food had disappeared and I was barely able to sit up comfortably. By 3am, I was completely immobilized. A friend rushed me to the hospital, where the Emergency Room Staff concluded I was suffering from appendicitis and needed a CT Scan. When the results of the scan were ready, what was revealed was rather surprising to all.
“Uchechi, your appendix is perfectly fine, but the tumor right above it that looks like it has been growing for about 10 years just ruptured.” The doctor immediately performed surgery, during which he cut out 12 inches of my colon along with the ruptured tumor. The tumor was cancerous, and the ruptured cells had entered my lymph nodes. At the tender age of 25 years old, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer. My doctors recommended the most aggressive chemotherapy available, which began immediately after healing from major that surgery. I spent the next eight months fighting for my life.
It was the most painful, difficult, and trying time of my life. It drained me financially, mentally, and spiritually. The effects of chemo lasted many years.
Eight years later, I am happy to be cancer-free and celebrating another year of life. But I know I am one of the lucky few, as colon cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in the United States. I now have a career in the cancer research field, and spend my days promoting health and wellness, while educating people on the importance of cancer research.