I’m an audio-visual producer and content producer for the TV show “Map TV”. We’ve been doing pretty good with the show. It’s original content, so we’re very proud of it. And just while doing things, just listening to my family and thank God, that’s what got me here.
Symptoms and diagnosis
I never had any symptoms. I do my physical tests every year. My last report a few months ago showed that my blood work was 100% perfect. And had I not gone up for the colonoscopy, I would have never known what cancer type it was and at what stage was it diagnosed. So it took them a while. That’s how they detected it. Then they gave me a few more tests so they could figure out exactly what they were dealing with. It took me a couple of weeks to get surgery because of the COVID situation. So after the surgery, he said it was stage two cancer.
My reaction after hearing the news
When I heard the diagnosis, I felt as if a numbing current of electricity was flowing through my blood. I consider myself a person who has been through a lot and can handle things, but that just knocked me out for a few seconds. And I had to decide right then if I was going to fight or if I was going to lay down. Then, I decided to take a deep breath and decided to get rid of it. I went to schedule a surgery.
Treatments underwent and side effects
I had a robotic sigmoidectomy. It was a new experience for me because I never had my body opened up before. I’ve always been a healthy former athlete. I worked out and tried to stay healthy after the surgery. I chose to fight but doctors were monitoring me very closely. I was told for the first year, there was a very high percentage of recurrence.
I didn’t have to go for chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Thanks to remarkable surgery performed by my doctor who cut the cancerous mass so cleanly. He was able to get 100% of it. I was also blessed to be healthy enough that my body reacted well. I was initially supposed to stay in the hospital for a week. I recovered so fast that they let me go home in a day and a half.
Post-surgery, my vitamin D intake has increased and they have also recommended a few new things to see how I heal. I still have some small residual nerve pain from the surgery, apart from that, recovery has been going pretty smoothly.
Managing my emotional wellbeing
I’m a creature of habit. Once I decide to fight, then I stay in that place mentally. I believe in just living this life we have. I’ve had to work hard to make everything happen, including my success with the television show and everything else. That’s the attitude I approached cancer with. It was my faith in God and loved ones who made this happen.
My support system
I thank God that I have the people around me who love me and push me to do the right thing. My television show “Muscle and classic movement” fans whom I consider a home family. I hadn’t seen or talked to them directly. But that gave me so much encouragement. There was an outpouring of support from the muscle and classic family. Thousands of people send me emails and DMs on all the social media platforms which gave me a lot of strength. So other than my family, I had the support of veterans and fans of the show.
I have changed my eating habits as per the doctor’s recommendation. I’ve always been really big on beef. But now, I say no to beef in my diet. I stay away from anything that’s just naturally bad. The progress is naturally bad. I take a lot of fluids now.
I have started to pay more attention to myself. I come from a family where we love each other so much that you don’t pay attention to yourself. It’s uncomfortable because I’m not used to putting myself first. My lifestyle changes have started with me doing a daily review of myself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Importance of self-examination
Because as you tend to age, this body will perform well for you as long as you take care of it. I would say that it’s very important to get the tests. That was one thing that I didn’t do. I was a couple of years overdue doing it. Had I waited another 60 or 90 days, I would not be sitting here telling you the same story. Diagnosis is very important. So, take a few minutes to do a self-examination. Although it may seem like nothing to you, it’s still worth checking out.
Life lessons that I learned
What I learned is that I’m not invincible. No matter how good shape I was in or what I do wrong or what I do right, it still can happen. I would say you just have to be willing to fight and be determined.
Fear of recurrence
I believe in “you never say never”. Like I said, having a determined mind, having a determined spirit to fight. A lot of times we can bombard ourselves with a lot of thoughts like what could happen or what couldn’t happen. I’m a firm believer. In the first year, it’s more likely to reoccur, but my doctors don’t think it will, and we haven’t seen any signs of that yet. I’m going to fight, and continue to do what they tell me. God does the heavy lifting most of the time, as long as we do our part. So, I don’t wake up with that fear every morning. I refuse to live in fear. I continue to live every day and enjoy the day as much as I can, even if it wasn’t a good day.
Message to cancer patients and caregivers
I would ask them to keep up the fight and try to stay positive. But my advice to anyone would be preventive care. Had I not had that preventive care and waited months and months and my diagnosis would not have been good at all. If you don’t know your family’s medical history, just trust your gut. We’re the biggest doctor first of knowing what’s going on inside this body that we’re living in. It is okay to put yourself first. If you’re of age, I would advise everyone to get a colonoscopy.