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Meet Scott

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With a new month upon us, it's time to meet another community member. We're pleased to introduce you to Scott- better known on our community as ProfessionalNomad. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know Scott a bit better, as you read more about him in his own words.


About me…

My name is Scott and I live with my 10-year old daughter Callie in the quaint river town of Amherstburg. With the Detroit River and Lake Erie being only a stone’s throw away we enjoy both sailing and kayaking. We also enjoying camping with our little pop-up camper and have been known to rent cottages in Northern Ontario and Quebec. I’m an avid mountain biker and find that riding the forested trails is the perfect fusion of nature and exercise that leaves me breathless in all the right ways!


 


I work in the manufacturing sector as an Operations Manager and have been with the same company for almost 20 years now. I commute from Amherstburg to the London area twice a week which comes with its own set of challenges. However, I love my job and my employer has been wonderfully supportive through my illness.


My diagnosis and treatment…

 After 3 days of intense diarrhea and nausea I had a friend take me to emergency. A CT scan indicated that I had multiple tumours and a complete blockage of my sigmoid colon. On the morning of my 50th birthday the surgeon met with me and told me I was going to need immediate surgery to remove a portion of my Sigmoid colon. Happy birthday to me!!!!

During the surgery they removed a 15 cm section of my Sigmoid colon and gave me a temporary colostomy. The surgeon had found 2 tumours and what he described as a large fluid filled lesion on the outside my colon that burst almost immediately upon his opening me up. Subsequent scans confirmed the presence of a tumour on my liver.

I met with my oncologist for the first time about a month after my surgery and the diagnosis was stage IV colon cancer with metastases in the lymph nodes and liver. I started chemotherapy (Folfox) on January 16th and I had my last treatment in July. I managed the chemotherapy reasonably well with neuropathy being the most prevalent of my symptoms.

On August 14th I had a liver resection to remove a single tumour and the surgery was considered to have been a success. I have since learned that the pathology for the portion of liver that was removed came up negative for cancer. This could be very good news or it could mean that the surgeon did not remove a large enough portion of the liver and the cancer still remains. I've decided to treat this curious new information as neutral news for now. I have my next set of scans in November so we shall see if the guilty party is still taking up residence in my liver or we were simply chasing a red herring from day one. 


What I have learned along the way…

I was supposed to be on a plane to Las Vegas to celebrate my 50th and instead I found myself in the emergency room of a hospital. There was no gradual lead up to a diagnosis after endless tests and doctor’s appointments. I had absolutely no time to prepare for bad news and as a result, life as I knew it changed dramatically within the span of a couple of hours.

Despite what appeared to be some pretty grim news I actually found that I was in good spirits in the weeks immediately following my surgery. Plain and simple, I was glad to be alive! It was a week or so after I got home from the hospital that I started to get frustrated with the fact that every aspect of my life seemed to be revolving around my diagnosis. As much as I appreciated all the wonderful people who were reaching out to support me it seemed like I couldn’t have a conversation without the topic circling back to my cancer. My returning to work was a real game changer in the sense that everyone (including myself) started to relax a little and life slowly began to settle into a ‘new normal’.

I have become quite stubborn when it comes to keeping my cancer out of the spotlight. In my home I have a single drawer set aside for all things related to my cancer. Outside of that drawer you won't find any sign that cancer resides in my home. 

Being diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer has profoundly changed my life. On any given day I will experience a wide range of emotions. As a commuter I spend many hours behind the wheel with lots of time to reflect on life…and death. I have definitely shed a few tears as I make my weekly journeys up and down the 401 highway. Surprisingly enough, there are just as many tears of joy (glad to be alive) as there are tears of sadness.

 
I read somewhere that gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has.



Yes, I have Cancer! I also have a beautiful daughter who is thoughtful, gentle, intelligent, and makes me proud every day. I have a loving and courageous family that have been beside me through every step of this journey.  I have friends and co-workers that have a magical way of giving me a nudge back towards the sunny side of the life when they sense that the shadows have started to creep in.  I could go on and on but I’m guessing you’re picking up my general theme!


 


If anything, my cancer diagnosis has shown me how much that I have to be grateful for. My cancer has taught me to appreciate TODAY. I don’t like the fact that I have cancer but fretting about tomorrow only takes away the joy I can experience from today.

I’m quite pleased to have found the cancer connection online community. I have posted a few comments of my own and have read a number of posts on a variety of different subjects. This on-line community gives me a chance to connect with people that are sharing journeys similar to my own. Some of us are farther down the path than others and we all have an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences.

Cheers, Scott



 




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