Sunday, February 03, 2008

Walk for Jen

For those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning, you will remember my post about my friend Jen, who at 30 was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

I am happy to report that Jen is doing well considering the amount of surgery and chemo that she has had since her diagnosis. One of the feelings I had when Jen told me about the cancer was a sense of uselessness that I could not help her or her family.

Jen sent me the following e-mail today:

"Dear Friends and Family,

On Sunday March 30th, I will be participating in the Fourth Annual Scope It Out 5KTM Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness, a not-for-profit fundraising/awareness race, being held at 8:00 a.m. in West Potomac Park, Washington, D.C., during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The cost is $25 and you receive a t-shirt for your support. To date, Scope It Out 5KTM has raised over $185,000 to further colorectal cancer research and awareness.

I invite you to join me in the walk to raise awareness that this cancer is not just an old person’s disease. Proceeds from the walk go to the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown, Prevent Cancer Foundation and the Colon Cancer Alliance. The Lombardi Center is where I receive top-notch treatment from my extraordinary team of doctors and nurses. Walking is my way of thanking Lombardi for all the hope, care and understanding they give to me on a daily basis.

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for men and women combined. Colorectal cancer affects people of all ethnic backgrounds. Every year, nearly 150,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with the disease, and nearly 60,000 die. More than 13,000 colorectal cancer cases are diagnosed each year in people under the age of 50. By the time symptoms occur (intestinal pain, blood in the stool), colorectal cancer has often metastasized to another organ.

My journey with colorectal cancer began on June 10, 2007. Before that day I was a healthy 30 year old with a 21 month old son and a bright future. My cancer metastasized to my liver and lymph nodes. Because of my age, my serious condition and otherwise healthy body, my doctors aggressively began my treatment. On June 25th the prime tumor was removed and I was given a colostomy (a surgical operation that creates an artificial anus through an opening made in the abdomen from the colon). Three weeks later 85 % of my liver was resected, gallbladder removed and my portal vein and bile duct rerouted. I recovered from both surgeries remarkably well.

Six weeks after liver surgery, I began chemotherapy to eradicate leftover cancer cells and to shrink a pelvic mass that grew between surgery and the onset of chemo. Chemotherapy was successful in stabilizing the tumor, but because of the nature of the mass surgery was the only option. So on December 12th, I underwent a radical hysterectomy and removal of two football size tumors encasing my ovaries. Again I recovered quickly. Even though my scans are clear for now, I am undergoing six more months of chemo. I am hopeful that with the help of my doctors and God that I will beat this disease.

Someone said that cancer patients are the lucky ones and I believe it. Cancer has opened up my world and introduced me to amazing human beings. I am grateful everyday for the small blessings- my son’s laughter, my husband’s smile or a letter from a stranger saying that they heard my story and were compelled to write to me to let me know that I’m in their prayers. God’s challenge has given me the chance to meet angels on earth and kindred spirits. I know my cancer experience has a greater meaning and I intend to use it to help others struggling with this disease.

Please join me as I begin my new journey as survivor and advocate. For more information and to sign up for the walk go to Please let me know if you intend on walking so that I can keep you abreast of a team meeting place etc.

Thanks for being a part of Team Jen!"

I will be joining Jen on that day as we walk for awareness and a cure for this horrible disease.

You can help by making a donation on my fundraising page

or if you are in the area feel free to join us. It will be a fun day for all!

Thanks in advance for any help you can give us!

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