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Meet Pinto.....

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August is upon us and time to meet another of our members. Please have a read on Pinto's story about being diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and how she is currently NED

My first memory of cancer as being something bad was when my grandfather died of the disease when I was three. He died of colon cancer. When I was in my early thirties, I began working for cancer charities, focusing on raising money for cancer research and patient support services. I continued working in that field until my diagnosis in 2019.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, one month shy of my 43rd birthday. I had a 14cm mass in my sigmoid, zero lymph node involvement and 1 small metastasis on my liver. The sigmoid mass was removed with clear margins and the liver met was resolved with 6 months of chemo (CAPOX). It’s been a little over a year since my last treatment and I’m currently considered ‘NED’ or in remission. 

Born in the USA to Canadian and British gypsy parents, I’ve always enjoyed travelling and experiencing new cultures. Of all the places I’ve been, India, Jordan and Argentina were my top three! I did most of my travelling while I was living in downtown Vancouver and had easy SkyTrain access to YVR. Getting to another country was pretty simple back then! In 2016 I moved from Vancouver to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, bought a fixer upper and changed my focus from travelling to building a home. 

Visiting the pyramids in 2009

In front of our Boler “Huck” in Roger’s Pass

Before my diagnosis, I was very active. I enjoyed running on the seawall, hiking on the North Shore, playing field hockey with the Meralomas, and mountain biking all around the lower mainland. Now I spend most of my time helping my husband with DIY projects around the house, gardening, doing short hikes close to home and getting out on a mountain bike when my bowels are feeling like they’re going to cooperate. Fatigue is also still an issue for me but bowel cooperation is definitely the biggest issue. I was fortunate to not require “a bag” but losing 20cm of large intestine and my entire sigmoid (the holding tank) makes the bathroom situation a significant challenge.

My cat, Pinto

Despite it being widely known that there is no cure for cancer, sometimes I think the average person loses sight of that fact. It is possible for my cancer to never come back, but the reality is, 86% of the people who receive the same diagnosis that I did, will die within 5 years. What I’ve learned is that it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle but no matter what you do, there are no guarantees. So for now, I just focus on living a good life and being prepared for but not worrying about the possibility of having to deal with cancer again in the future. A wise friend once told me, whatever it is you can handle it. I try to remind myself of that when I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all.

August 2021 at Lake Louise

Thank you so much for sharing a little bit about your story Pinto. And now we know where your username came from  


Thank you for sharing. Beautiful pics!
  • Posted Fri 05 Nov 2021 02:34 AM EDT
Thank you for sharing your story Pinto‍ and always being here to support our members !yes I agree with law1‍ your cat is so adorable. He is snuggy like my boy Vinnie. You have had some amazing travels ! Cheers to many more.
  • Posted Sun 29 Aug 2021 07:33 PM EDT
Welcome, Pinto
Your cat Pinto is adorable and fluffy....similar to my wacky cat, Gem, a foster who I adopted recently. She is currently sleeping so I have a moment of freedom from her policing me away from the keyboard.
I think your travels and bravery are admirable and the Egyptian pyramids have always been a fascination. I understand Egypt is one of the most interesting cultures to experience.
Thank you for sharing your life and your empathy...your grandfather would indeed be proud of you.
  • Posted Sun 29 Aug 2021 07:14 PM EDT
Such a pleasure to meet you Pinto‍! What a fulfilling life you have. Thank you for sharing it and your courage with us! You are an incredible young woman and your grandfather would be so proud of you.

I have always wanted a Boler trailer to go camping with because tents just don’t feel safe enough for me these days. You will have many years to enjoy that little baby. Does it have a name? Never mind I just realized it’s name is “Huck” versus type of Trailor.

Wonderful photos of your travels and I can imagine what all of those places were like for you. Pinto is a beauty.

Thanks for being here so that we can learn from you and for touching the lives of so many with your work❣️

Warm hugs
  • Posted Wed 04 Aug 2021 07:37 PM EDT
Your story has touched my heart...we have very similar backgrounds and experiences.
You have given me much hope and Ican relate to your bathroom issues. ..mine also being digestive issues.
Your bright smile and positive attitude have put much needed wind into my sails.
I wish you all the very best .
I'm currently waiting for an MRI as I am having neurological issues and they want to rule out a brain tumour. I also throw up daily and that is another thing that could cause that BUT I haven't lost focus or hope.
Thank you for helping me remember that I'm not alone.
Much love Karen ❤
  • Posted Wed 04 Aug 2021 03:06 PM EDT

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