Despite a late diagnosis, a recent cancer patient was interviewed in regards to staying optimistic and keeping as active as possible.
How were you diagnosed?
It was complicated. It all started with stomach pain. I went to my gynaecologist, I echoed … Everything was OK. But the pains persisted. I finally went to see a gastroenterologist. When I was young, I was 42 years old, he first told me it was related to stress. It must be said that I had some worries at work at the time. Probably an ulcer or stressed colon syndrome.
It was when I started having blood in the stool that he thought of colon cancer. He made me do an emergency colonoscopy: the tumor was so huge that he couldn’t get through it with his instruments. I was in pre-occlusion. I had to operate urgently: I had 40 cm of colon removed. Fortunately, I escaped from my pocket.
What stage of the disease were you in?
At stage 4 already. I had 3 liver metastases. So I had 3 months of chemotherapy to shrink the tumors and make them operable. After the lumpectomy, I still had 3 months of chemo.
A new CT scan revealed other metastases to the liver, the iliac nodes, the peritoneum and the lung. Recently, nodules have been detected in the rectum. So I’m going to start a protocol that combines radiotherapy and oral chemotherapy. Then I can be operated on the rectum. My surgeon wanted to do a total osmotic but I’m young so we’re going to try the transient osmotic for 3 months and see how it goes.
How are you morally?
I am not always Zen because I always have this sword of Damocles above my head, but I am super optimistic: as long as I am operable, I have a chance of recovery. Of course, if my surgeon cannot connect my colon to my rectum after the stoma and I have to live with a pocket, it will change a lot.
You are very athletic, have you been able to continue training?
Yes, at my own pace. Just before my first operation, I was preparing for the Paris marathon. Obviously, I had to cancel everything. In 2016, after the 3 chemo treatments and the 2 operations, I re-registered. I said to myself: “I will finish it, even if I have to finish by crawling”. And I did it. I held on to the mind. I finished it in 5:08. I was super happy because after 6 a.m. we don’t have a medal!
What would you say to people who are hesitant to get tested?
I would encourage them to do so because, when a polyp is discovered around a colonoscopy, surgery is often effective and metastasis is avoided. If you don’t act quickly, the cancer spreads and it gets more complicated.
So even if you are young, if you have unexplained pain, check it out!