We had to plan to be in Houston for a month and get our daughter in daycare since my parents were going to watch her but they both work full -time and it was stressful. We got out to Houston for the big surgery with everyone there for this; my parents, daughter, boyfriend, and one of my close friends came out. I was in surgery for eight hours. They removed the cancer, appendix, ovaries, uterus, gallbladder, omentum and more of my large intestine, reversed the colostomy, gave me a temporary ileostomy and did the HIPEC procedure. Recovery was very difficult. Surprisingly I was only in the hospital for a week and not the anticipated two weeks. I was discharged to go home after a week of being in a hotel, so we were home two weeks earlier! The ten hour drive home was not easy though. It took me about six to eight weeks to heal to the point of walking more than fifteen steps without having to stop to catch my breath. It took awhile for me to be able to go anywhere without having to stop for a break after a few minutes because it was painful to walk still. Once I was finally feeling better, my boyfriend James whom became my husband April of this year (2018), had to deploy again, so he left and the following month I had my ileostomy reversal and my parents and daughter were with me for this one. Everything went great and I was out of the hospital sooner than anticipated again. Since then, I was getting CT scans every three months until February 2018 and now I have been moved to CT scan every four months until February 2019, then to every six months until I hit five years in remission; then it’ll be yearly checks.
Today, I am now working as a mental health therapist for an agency in New Mexico, remotely from my home in Florida. I am also a Licensed Master of Social Work in the state of New Mexico and working on my clinical license here in Florida, for social work. I spend my spare time volunteering with the local Relay for Life, and speaking at different cancer related events. I have traveled to different states to learn how to be a better advocate in various seminars specific to colorectal cancer and have even gone to Washington D.C. this past March to lobby at the Capitol to ask for representatives to vote “yes” on bills that will provide increased funding and better care for cancer research and cancer patient care. I was featured, along with other survivors and caregivers in a magazine called “On the Rise” telling everyone’s story that was affected by colorectal cancer under the age of fifty. This has become a passion of mine and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I hate when someone new is diagnosed, but thankful I have gone through all I have so I can provide the support I wish I had when I was first diagnosed. Almost everyone would say that being diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at the age of twenty four and at seventeen weeks pregnant is one of the worst things that could happen to you, but if I’m being completely honest, it is actually one of the best things that has ever happened to me! I have met so many amazing people that I KNOW would not have happened had I not been diagnosed. I learned so much about my strength and resiliency and I know that what I thought was my “limit” before on what I could handle, was only scratching the surface.