About a year ago I was having shortness of breath, especially when I would stand. So I went to the doctor to try and find out what was wrong. They ran lots and lots of blood tests. Everything came back perfect.
A few months later, I noticed my bowel movements were more frequent. Eventually I became constipated and have been now for more than six months. I have had many doctor visits, more blood work, etc. It’s been a long road of doctor appointments and ER’s. See I was having blood in my stools as well. And then there was weight loss, 5…10…15…I think I noticed at about this point. I stepped on the scale at the gym and was shocked. So I went home and went online and typed in my symptoms. Colon cancer came up.
So I’ve actually been wondering for months if that was what it was. The free clinic where I was going referred me to USC County Medical Center for a CT scan. However, it took 3 months to get the appointment. Anyway, here’s where it gets kind of amazing.
At Puppet School, we had a student interning with us learning to make puppets. Her name is Amy Smith and one day she tells me she saw a post on craigslist for a research study on constipation. She suggested I call them because it may help, plus they pay $50 a visit. So I called and left a message. One week went by and no returned call so I forgot about it.
Then suddenly one day my phone rang with a guy asking if I was still interested in the study. In that phone call he told me they would pay me $100 to go get a colonoscopy. So I signed up and within 4 days was having the procedure. After I woke up, the doctor came in and said, “Well there’s just one way to tell you this, and that’s just to tell you that you have cancer.” He showed me some photos of it he took during the colonoscopy. There was one that showed this large gray mass growing around the colon. Very ominous looking. Then he told me it looks like I’ve had it for awhile. And then told me I would likely need a combination of surgery, chemo and radiation.
So that’s how I learned I had cancer. Shocking, but I had been wondering for months so I was kind of prepared for the news.
So now the journey begins…