FAQ: How long have you been a cancer survivor?

Before answering that question, we need to define what a cancer survivor actually is,  According to Wikipedia, a cancer survivor is someone who:

  • has completed initial cancer management and has no apparent evidence of active disease;
  • is living with progressive disease and may be receiving cancer treatment, but is not in the terminal phases of illness; or
  • has had cancer in the past.

In 2011, I had been a cancer survivor for 4 years … and didn’t even realize it.  Let me explain.

In 2007, I was having some pains in my right side that after 7 months of testing and other procedures actually ending up being a bad gall bladder that had to be removed after a severe case of pacreatitis.  But before we reached that conclusion, I had my first colonoscopy at the ripe old age of 53.

In the midst of that colonoscopy the doctor encountered a polyp that was too large to be removed in the procedure.  The biopsy came back as precancerous which was good news.  The bad news is to remove the polyp, they would have to remove the section of colon where the polyp was and then reconnect the colon … my procedure would be a sigmoid colectomy.  Unfortunately (how’s this for timing?) my wife was having her gall bladder removed the next week so we had to schedule my procedure four weeks out.

So four weeks later, I went through the procedure and spent 8 days in the hospital recovering. But by the time they had removed the section of colon, the polyp had become cancerous.  Tests after surgery at the time confirmed they had gotten all the cancer.  At that point in 2007 … nearly five years ago … I officially became a cancer survivor (according to the first definition above) … but didn’t realize it until 2011 in the midst of a conversation with my surgeon.

So in the summer of 2011 more problems with the colon and head back to surgery for another sigmoid colectomy … only this time when he opened me up he found a cancerous mass … most of which he removed during surgery.  Unfortunately it didn’t make sense to reconnect the colon so I came out of that surgery with a colostomy.  Not only was the cancer on the colon but several cancerous lung nodules also were found on my right lung … diagnosis … incurable Stage IV metastatic colon cancer.

So ten months later … I continue to be a cancer survivor … only now under definition two above.  After 8 months of chemo there continues to be no growth in the cancer.

Surviving and thriving 5 years and counting …

Thank you Jesus!

Bernie

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About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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4 Responses to FAQ: How long have you been a cancer survivor?

  1. jimdavenport says:

    May God be glorified by your condition, Bernie!!
    Jim D.

  2. Carrie Morrison says:

    We continue to remember you and your family in our prayers. Thanking the Lord for His working, and for your faithful testimony! 🙂

    • bwebbjr says:

      Thanks so much Carrie … I have been on maintenance chemo now for about 12 weeks and the latest CT scan has revealed that after 10 months the chemo has not spread or increased in size … which is a miracle in and of itself after how quickly it grew and spread to begin with. Please offer my heartfelt thanks to your father and those within your church who have been praying for me. God is answering those prayers in big and small ways every day. The Lord sustains me!

      Bernie

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