Podcast Episode 3: A Nudge From Above

Podcast 3
It was certainly unconventional how Missy learned of her colon cancer diagnosis. She was involved in a freak accident and was taken the hospital to get a CT scan to rule out any damage.

The CT scan revealed she either had Crohn's Disease or colon cancer. The colonoscopy confirmed the news, it was cancer. 

"I had been preparing myself and praying about it ever since I got that phone call. When we finally heard it out loud, it just kind of took my breath away for a minute," said Missy, "It was shocking, but I didn't feel any fear. Never once did I feel fear. It was just, ok, let's get this done and let's get it taken care of and just handle it day by day."

Missy said within the next week of learning her diagnosis of stage two colon cancer she had an appointment with colorectal surgeon, Dr. Patrick Szeto. A week after her visit with him, she had surgery. 

No family history and no symptoms was the reason behind Missy not getting a colonoscopy prior to the accident. She said she had even joked with her doctor about it before any of this happened. The recommended age for colonoscopy screenings had just been moved to 45-years-old. 

"I'm past 45. I'll wait till I'm 50 you know, just kind of laughed it off. Well, the gastroenterologist told me, he said, had you waited until you were 50 it would have been too late," said Missy. 

She continued to say that this was an accident and blessing her cancer was found. While at first, she wanted to keep her medical journey a secret, her husband helped her realize that she wanted to let people know what she was experiencing. 

"After my surgery, I was like ok, people need to know about this. They need to know about the story. They need to be encouraged, they need to know that you can beat it," said Missy. 

She had robotic-assisted surgery to remove part of her colon. She said it was a pretty rough recovery. 

"I will say that when you have that surgery and when your bowels start working again, you really don't know if they're working or not. So it might be good to wear a diaper for a while because you don't know, it just kind of happens," Misty explained.

Missy also recommends anyone that has this surgery to walk. She said she developed an ileus because of it. According to the National Institute of Health, an ileus is a prolonged absence of bowel function after surgical procedures. 

She said another tough part of recovery was that she couldn't eat solids for weeks. 

"They put you on a strict diet because, because your colon is stapled together. So they don't want anything to slip out through the staples or through the holes and cause an infection. So, you know, you're on a clear liquid diet," said Missy. 

Doctors will provide a full list of restrictions and help you navigate what you can eat versus what you cannot eat. Patients are also limited in lifting anything as well as driving. Missy said it was a difficult process.

"It was very emotional. I had ups and downs. I'm not one to depend on people and I had to depend on a lot of people. So many people stepped up and did things for me without even me asking," said Missy. 

An emotional, mental and physical tasking journey, but one that has a happy ending!

"I had my surgery on a Tuesday and the doctor called on Thursday. He had gotten the pathology reports back and said that he had gotten all of it and there was no more cancer," said Missy. 

She still has to visit an oncologist every nine months for two years unless there are any issues, and get regular colonoscopies. 

As far as colonoscopies go, she's got the process nailed down so that it's less unpleasant. Missy said the day before you only have clear liquids. Then it's time for the prep. She recommends when you take the liquid for prep to be sure to put it in the refrigerator so it's cold and to drink it with something else like water. She said after that it's the bathroom part, but within 12 hours you're done. 

"It's pretty painless. It's not near as bad as it used to be," said Missy.

She urges people to not let the fear of a colonoscopy stop you from getting checked. 

"It's much easier on you if you go get checked than finding out later that you have cancer and you could have caught it early," said Missy.

And she doesn't want fear to hold her back from sharing her testimony. 

"Before this, I was not one to talk about things or talk in front of people, but God gave me a story to tell and I have to tell it and that's how I look at it now is because obviously he has a bigger plan," said Missy.