I know there are a number of types of chemotherapy, and everyone reacts differently, but I think people don’t know how much things have changed from 10 or 20 years ago. I had anti-nausea medication mixed in with the chemo drugs, and overall the treatment was very manageable. I'm sure a lot of people believe that chemo is always excruciating—I know I did—but for me, it wasn't terrible at all. The best part, of course, was that it increased my chances of being able to watch my son grow up.
Another common misconception is that colon cancer is something that only happens to older people or those with a strong family history of the disease. No one in my family has ever had colon cancer, and since my diagnosis, I've learned that the disease is becoming more prevalent among people in their 20s and 30s, though it's still most common after age 50.
Despite my initial reluctance about having a colonoscopy, I now tell anyone who's experiencing ongoing stomach issues to see a gastroenterologist and get a colonoscopy. The prep is the worst part, but it's bearable, and it just might save your life.
I wouldn't say that cancer has drastically changed me, but since my ordeal, I’m a proponent of enjoying life to its fullest. I go on more vacations and encourage my son to jump into whatever he loves. If he wants to do hockey, soccer and football, I'll gladly sign him up for all three. I've learned not to take any opportunities for granted. And I can’t wait to see what life has in store for us.