There are so many things to do and places to see.  We all feel we are moving along in life…doing what is expected and the WHAM… out of nowhere comes the three words that seem to define you as a person in ways you never thought possible…YOU HAVE CANCER!

My story, like the others I have read, are my words, my experiences, my lessons and teachings.  At age 44, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer but I need to back up a little and share with you the gift I was given prior to my diagnosis.  I am a police officer. I have just finished my 20th year on the department and retired from the USAFR with 22 years of service! MY department has been wonderful throughout this journey!

Everyone has heard of the “Thin Blue Line”.  It is truly breath taking to see our police family come together and support each other!  For me, that came about when a fellow officer (also a military member) was diagnosed with cancer.  I was blessed to be very close throughout his journey and unfortunately he lost his battle in 2011.  That experience and the important lessons I learned enabled me to start my own journey just one short month later.

In 2010, my appendix ruptured.  Let me tell ya…THAT IS PAIN!  About six months after that I felt the same type of pain in my abdominal area.  Docs said I had cysts on my ovary. Knocked me full of pain meds and sent me on my way.  They said my body would take care of them. In August 2011, the pain came back again.  I went straight to the ER and a direct route into surgery. Needed a hysterectomy and all the cysts removed.

The last thing the doctor said was if it is cancerous I will close you up, but “don’t worry that rarely happens”.  Well, we all know that’s what happened.  I woke up to the three words, “You have cancer.”  I wasn’t actually diagnosed with the metastatic colon cancer until a week and a half later (talk about a roller coaster ride from you know where!).  At one point, they thought I had two cancers, ovarian and colon.  I didn’t!

For me, the worst part of this whole journey is how it has affected my daughter.  Being a single parent, my daughter has been my whole world.  She was fourteen when I told her.  I’ll never forget the look, the pain, the tears and fear in her big beautiful eyes.  You want to take that pain and tuck it right alongside the cancer, that way she doesn’t feel the pain!  Funny, that was my initial thoughts.

Now, a little over two years later, I honestly say, the fear is still there but she has grown into such a caring, educated fighter right alongside me.  Our strength is what gets me through this.

So, my cancer has led me to paying it forward, I help a lot of other cancer survivors and warriors in my department.  Educate whenever I can and fight the battle with all I have!  I have gone through three trial drugs, three surgeries and currently on a new trial drug.  I work full time and live my life for me not for this cancer!  My goal is obviously to win this battle and that I will, but my drive and passions are to help those who hear those three words and letting them know it’s not a death sentence!  We can fight and we will fight!

People (all the time) look at me and say, “I don’t think I could do it.”  Well, that’s just plain (well, you know!).  When we are faced with a challenge you arise to it and meet it head on!  Your mental state is truly what gets you through it all!  I think that is the BEST medicine out there!  Mind over matter.  PLEASE don’t get me wrong, I have my days too, but I stay far away from the rabbit hole!  Went down it once and it’s just not a fun place to be!  I have great family and friends, without them this would be a different story.  I am thankful for Dr. Marshall at Georgetown Hospital and most of all, I am THANKFUL to God!  HE truly is what gets me through it all!

Words of advice… hmmmm… Surround yourself with love, positive people and energy!  Give to people…it makes you feel WONDERFUL inside.  LIVE life NOW!  LOVE ALWAYS!  I could go into more detail of all the medical stuff but that’s me in a nutshell.  I want you to know I am blessed.