When people ask me why I raise money for CCFA, I tell them it’s for my family – my late grandmother, my godmother and my uncle. But I also do it for everyone I have met through the CCFA and Team Challenge. One of these people is my friend Patty. Here is her story, which she shared with us last year. She is also one of Team Wisconsin’s honored heroes this season.
In high school, I struggled with weight loss, feeling lethargic, and the plethora of other problems that come with undiagnosed ulcerative colitis. I was subjected to some treatments that rendered me less likely to continue looking for what might have actually been wrong with me.
When I started college, at age 18, I couldn’t take the pain any longer. I found a doctor to help me. Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own disease seriously. I often skipped years between colonoscopies and only took my medication when I had an outbreak. For 22 years, when I fell out of remission, I fell hard. Each colonoscopy showed severe, active colitis. Last year, I struggled to function like a healthy woman should. I knew I had another outbreak of colitis and this one really scared me because the effects caused me to miss days from work, miss holidays with family, and miss out on moments with my daughter.
I went to the doctor, and he very seriously told me the facts. Because of my years with active, severe ulcerative colitis, the likelihood of colon cancer went up significantly. We could not get the colitis under control this time, and his recommendation was to have my large intestine removed completely. I was devastated and depressed. I know people CAN exist without a colon, but I didn’t want to. I know people CAN survive colon cancer, but the thought petrified me. I immediately changed my diet and my habits. I finally got serious about my disease, but was I too late?
Spring of last year, I met with a surgeon and discussed the procedure. I met with a nurse to discuss how I was going to live without a colon. I met with my boss to discuss the post-surgical ramifications. I met with my family to discuss how our lives were going to change.
Then came the colonoscopy. I went in feeling sure that he was going to come out telling me that my colon was a goner. I was hoping it would not result in a cancer diagnosis, but all of the literature and website facts seemed against me. I received a phone call. My doctor wanted to see me as soon as I could get in. I went immediately. My face was so long and sullen. My doctor’s face was not! Not only had my colonoscopy showed improvement, but my body reversed itself to mild colitis-no cancer!
Everything changed that day. My doctor consulted other doctors and the recommendation changed. The surgery was cancelled, my diet changed, my medications changed, and right now I am in remission. I feel better than I have ever felt in my life. Because of research done, I was able to change my regiment and therefore, change the ulcerative colitis. I also have to add, because I really do admire him, that my doctor was willing to listen to my needs and willing to admit that he needed to consult with other medical professionals before my colon was removed.