Saturday, November 9, 2013


Just wanted to share an update with anybody (and those on the Colon Club Forum) still reading, that Dad had more scheduled scans recently and he is still NED!  (No Evidence of Disease)

Here is a recent photo of Dad and I.  I did a couple sketches and he made these handmade frames for them. 

Much love,
Mary Beth

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's Been A While...

...since I've posted here on the blog. 

Things have been going really well for Dad since the surgery in March.  He has made an excellent recovery, and is back to doing things he loves and enjoying life.  Just this past Sunday for Father's Day, we made a trip down the river.  Dad told me he thought he'd never be able to do that again.  I'm so glad that he's well and able to do the things he loves. 

Thanks for all the support!  Dad will have check up scans next month. 

Much love,
Mary Beth

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surgery Finished /Update

Dad had his surgery done yesterday morning. It was a 4 1/2 hour surgery. He had the tumors removed, along with his spleen, half of his pancreas, one adrenal gland, a small part of his stomach and 2 feet of small intestines removed. (Yes, it was a BIG surgery). The doctors did this because his tumors had been so large and this had to be done to give Dad a better chance of not having another recurrence. He also had his colostomy reversed.

He is recovering well. He has walked today and his NG tube (the tube down his throat into his stomach to drain bile and fluid) should come out tomorrow. They are watching his blood sugar, since the pancreas produces insulin. He has an epidural and a morphine pump to control the pain for right now.

Please keep him in your thoughts as he continues with this long recovery. Thanks so much for the support and love, and I will try to keep everyone updated on how he progresses.

Much love,
Mary Beth

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Surgery on March 19th

Dad will have surgery to remove his recurrent tumors on Tuesday, March 19th.  After his pre-op visit yesterday, it turns out that his surgery will be a complicated one.  The tumors have shrunk significantly, so that is great news.  The chemotherapy did its job well.

It turns out that the tumors are located very close to the pancreas.  They are outside of his colon now.  This means that in order to give Dad the best chance for a cure, the surgeon may have to do a distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy (removing the tail of the pancreas and the spleen), along with a resection of the tumors and then if all of that goes well, a colostomy reversal.

I am hoping that things will go smoothly and that there will be no major complications.  His recovery is going to take about six weeks.

I will be sure to keep everyone updated on how Dad is doing after the surgery.

Thanks to all for the love and support!

-Mary Beth

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Upcoming Surgery and Wearing Blue!

We met with the surgical oncologist last week, and Dad has some tests scheduled for this week. If all is well, surgery is planned for March 19th.  Hoping for the best!

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.  This is the time where we try to bring about awareness of colon cancer and promote screening to prevent cancer or treat the disease by catching it in its early stages.

I am participating by taking the pledge on  Follow the link to read more about screening and how you can participate and spread awareness.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Wunder Project

The Wunder Project is simple but revolutionary: every penny raised by the Project will fund the research, led by our brilliant and international medical team, that will lead to the cure for colon cancer and the blueprint for curing other cancers.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Story of Strength, Hope, and Survival

Today, I am pleased to feature another cancer survivor's story here on my blog!

 Knowing that there is life after cancer is so important for those who have just been diagnosed or those who are still fighting and need that extra boost of hope to keep going.

It is also important to have a strong and loving support system behind you, and that is what Cameron Von St. James was for his wife Heather as she fought her battle with Mesothelioma.  Like my Dad, she was given a poor prognosis; however, she fought the good fight, and is still here today to give that message of hope to others.

Read Cameron's article below.  Please share with anyone you know who is fighting cancer and with their loved ones...

How I Overcame My Wife's Battle With Cancer

On November 21, 2005, my wife, Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Our lives became chaotic at a time when I thought I would be celebrating.  Heather had just given birth to our first and only child a few months before, and we couldn’t have been more thrilled to be planning for Lily’s first Christmas.  Instead, life gave us different plans, and we were contemplating my wife's treatment options. 

After the diagnosis, we learned as much as we could about the diagnosis.  When we received recommendations for treatment, we had three choices: a region hospital, a great local hospital, or Dr. David Sugarbaker, a specialist in mesothelioma treatment. We chose the specialist and decided to go to Boston for a meeting with him. 

After the decision, the next two months were chaotic. Before the diagnosis, both Heather and I worked full-time. After she was diagnosed, she ceased working, and I only worked part-time. This put a lot of strain on our financial situation and only added to the stress we were experiencing after the diagnosis. I spent an enormous amount of time at my wife’s doctor’s appointments, making travel arrangements to Boston, caring for Lily, our house, the pets, my job – the responsibilities were overwhelming. 

I often feared that I would lose my wife and be left to raise our daughter alone. I was worried that I would end up a broke and penniless widower trying to fight my wife’s cancer. I often broke down and sobbed uncontrollably and wished it would all go away. When I thought of how much Heather needed me, I realized that I had to get over my feeling of helplessness and be strong for Heather. Even in my weak moments, I never let her see me break down.  I knew that the last thing she needed was to see my fears. 

Heather and I received significant help from family and friends. We received kind words, meals, and even financial assistance from our community. Heather and I were so grateful and can never fully express how thankful we were to have them in our lives. We advise anyone in a similar situation to accept any help offered to them. I was too proud at first to accept many of these kind offers, but when I finally learned to accept help a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  If nothing else, it will remind you that you are not alone in the fight.

Being a caregiver is challenging work. For me, it was the most difficult test that I have ever had to face. The time was filled with despair, uncertainty and chaos. It is one of the only challenges I have ever faced that I did not have the option to quit.  On the bad days, I had to remember that those days would be small and insignificant compared to the life we had ahead of us. 

Though it took years to return to normalcy, I am glad I continued the fight. It has been seven years, and after intense mesothelioma treatment involving surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, Heather is cancer-free to this day. We hope that by sharing our story of success and hope, we can inspire others currently fighting cancer today to never give up, and to always keep fighting. 

You can read more about Cameron and Heather at their blogs below:

Cameron's Blog

Heather's Blog

Thanks again to Cameron and Heather, for sharing your story and for being such an inspiration to others!

Chemotherapy Finished!

Today, my Dad finishes his 12 cycles of chemotherapy.

I'm so proud of my Dad.  About 10 months ago, when we found out his tumor had come back, he was just about ready to give up.  Getting that second opinion was such a turnaround for him, and gave him the hope and strength he needed to keep fighting.

In about 6 weeks, he will be having another surgery.  We go to Atlanta next week to see the surgeon again for an after-chemo follow up appointment.

Thanks to everyone who has helped to support us during this time.

Mary Beth

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On Being Positive and Being There for Your Loved Ones...

Today, in the chemo room, Dad and I met the sweetest lady. She had stomach cancer, and she has been in treatment since August. Bless her heart, she has been through a lot. But you know what? She was still smiling, laughing, and joking. She is positive, even though goodness only knows the pain she has been through. My Dad is that way too, as are most of the people I have met in the oncology office and in the infusion room. 

I have no idea what it's like to have to be that strong; these people have touched my heart. The chemo room was a scary place to me the first time, and I'm sure it was for Dad too, but I am so grateful for the chance to meet and talk with these wonderful people. I know the infusion room is the last place they want to be, but many of them are doing what they have to do and are making the best of it. Also, the nurses and staff in the chemo room are some of the kindest and warmest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I can't imagine how they do what they do every single day, but I am so glad they do. I am so glad that I have had the ability to be there with my Dad throughout his treatments. I've had the most profound change in myself, my attitude, and my outlook on life because of my Dad, all the people I have met, my family, and all the people that have supported us throughout this past year. 

I'd also like to say - to anyone who has a loved one facing something like this, please, put aside any issues you might have had with them in the past. Forget what they have or have not done for you in your life. It doesn't matter now. They NEED YOU to get through this. No one should have to go through something like cancer and not have support from ALL of their family. Love them like you have never loved them before. Put yourself aside, and care for and support them as much as you possibly can. They need you to lift them up and to know that you care and that you would do anything for them. They cannot do this alone.