First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you to Erin with Helping Hands of Cincinnati. They have been a tremendous help for my husband and I to cover expenses during my time off of work after my surgeries.

My cancer journey started 11-28-16 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer at the age of 47. My doctors went after it aggressively with chemo, radiation, and surgery. I handled the radiation with no problems and just minor discomfort during chemo. On 4-25-17 I had surgery to remove the section of bowel that had the cancer cells in it and it went very well. I also got a temporary iliostomy bag during that surgery. But my body doesn’t like to heal properly and with the radiation and chemo damage on top of that, my bowel resection leaked and caused a fistula. On 8-29-17 my surgeon tried to fix the leak through a scope but was unable to. We had to wait until I was finished with chemo and had recovered enough from it before we could do surgery to redo the bowel resection and fix the hole that the leak and fistula had caused. That surgery happened on 11-3-17. My surgeon is cautiously optimistic that it will hold. On 11-24-17 the upper part of my abdominal incision got infected. It is healing now from the inside out. I have to put packing in it each day to keep it from closing too soon. Hopefully in a few weeks I will find out that the bowel has healed properly and we can schedule my iliostomy reversal surgery.
My mom has been with me for all of my visits, treatments and procedures.

One of my dogs that is a registered Therapy Dog has also made this journey with me. He is a french bulldog and his name is Squish and he has been in my chemo chair with me for everything: treatments, post op, pre op, doctor visits, etc. He has made the journey easier for me.

I have had to take off many weeks of work to heal from the surgeries because my job is very physical and involves a lot of lifting. Helping Hand of Cincinnati has made it possible to let go of the financial worry and stress during my recovery times.

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