Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Stories of courage and hope

Stories of courage and hope
Hi my name is Frank Pitman. In May 1999, my younger sister Elaine was rushed to the hospital complaining of abdominal pain. Later that evening, she had to undergo surgery during which part of his colon was removed. Unfortunately, she had advanced colon cancer. Sadly, a year later, May 18, 2000, she died at the age of only 44 years.

The tragic loss of my younger sister could have been avoided if it had been screened for colorectal cancer. A few years later, at age 55, a colonoscopy revealed that I had too colon cancer and that I should undergo major surgery. Fortunately, so far the cancer has not reappeared.

I was very lucky. After being present with my sister during her painful battle against colorectal cancer, I still wonder why I waited so long to I be screened before the disease is discovered. I guess I thought it could that arriving to others. Also, I was embarrassed at the idea that a doctor examine me, and maybe it was the unjustified fear of being tested, I guess I was afraid of what they could discover. What a ridiculous idea!

Looking back, I realize that none of these reasons was valid to postpone a test. The severity of physical and psychological consequences that I experienced after diagnosis, as well as anxiety felt by the people around me, greatly exceeds any fears associated with testing. The pain and suffering could have been avoided if the disease had been detected before it becomes cancer.

While I was recovering, I felt the need to do something to prevent others from making the same mistake I did. I contacted the Canadian Colorectal Cancer Association and I asked them how I could help. I started as a mentor within the ACCC mentoring program and I'm still since 2008.

Stories of courage and hope
- Lorraine Cordeau, a singer, musician and producer Georges Thurston Canada, says "Black ball", which was also the spokesman of the ACCC, agreed to share his story telling how the agency influenced his life during the battle of her husband against colorectal cancer.

"When a stage IV colorectal cancer was diagnosed in George, Barry Stein immediately contacted us to tell us his own experience and tell us the resources and services offered by the association. This gesture has really encouraged George to continue his treatment and also allowed me to better understand what he was going through and how I could help. What was amazing is that people approached George - who has used his celebrity status to spread awareness of the ACCC's name - to say thank you, thanks to you I have passed tests or colonoscopy saved my life, etc. My husband was very proud and I was wondering, but what I would have done without the ACCC? They were so caregivers through this ordeal. When he left us, we had this sort of serene smile, seeming to say, mission accomplished.

 Do you love life? I believe, like George, we should all support our way, the association and its mission. "

- Marie-Josée Lafrance. In July 2008, my husband Martin was diagnosed with colon cancer. There was not much hope, he had only weeks to live. An acquaintance told me, "I have a fantastic story to tell you, the man called Barry Stein, you've got the contacts. He had cancer at the age of 41, like Martin. "So I contacted him. I will always remember this call, he said, "Listen, there's plenty to do. When the doctor says there is nothing to do, knock on the door of someone else, until you say yes, I'll do something. "At that time, we knew that there was perhaps some hope, there were things to do.

We had 31 months together and every day was important because we have three children. Each day had, for us all. In conclusion, I would like to tell Barry, is that I do not know what we would have done without you. Martin, the kids and I, we thank you from the bottom of heart for always being there for us, always have been there.

Stories of courage and hope
- Our thanks to Patrick Connors - son of Jim Connors - for sharing with us the story of the battle of his father against colorectal cancer.

The Jim Connors story. There was a time where it was just a word. A word to shiver, an unreal word, yes, but it was still a word: Cancer. That time is no more than the memory of a naive memory.

It was six years ago, when the colorectal cancer was diagnosed to my father, this unreal word has invaded our family. There are four, he took my father away from his friends and his beloved family. Still to shiver, but not unreal, cancer now represents something different for me. It is too familiar, and bears are lot of associations to memories and intense emotions. Pain. Anger. Stress. Anguish. Nostalgic ideals. But with its intense associations, memories and feelings, there is positive.

Above all, there is the memory of how my father chose to address her condition. He was optimistic despite a gloomy outlook positive despite the pain, and he was immensely concerned with how his illness and his chances of survival were affecting the lives of those who loved him. Then, he chose to help others who had the same disease. He became involved in the ACCC becoming militant. He insisted that there is more awareness of colorectal cancer, for early detection programs and to finance effective drugs. My father believed and supported the ACCC. Through education, support and defense actions, ACCC helping several people like my father and many families like ours. A little positive during the terrible time of need.

I continue to support ACCC after his death, because their work gives me hope to see the day where people know a lot about the word cancer, but in a different way, one way or cancer will less scary, less painful and where the only survivors will be those stories. For more information visit the ACCC here.

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