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Archive | March, 2016

Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief, With Tom Zuba

Tom Zuba

Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief, With Tom Zuba

I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Tom Zuba for this episode of The Colon Cancer Podcast. His book Permission to Mourn; A New Way to Do Grief (affiliate link) is, in my opinion, a book about love. In it, Tom illustrates that when someone you love dies, it is possible to love again; to love yourself, to love the one you mourn and to love life.

I hope that you will find comfort in Tom’s words as I did and if you know someone who has experienced grief – who hasn’t? – please share this episode with them.

Tom Zuba on The Oprah Winfrey Show:

Tom Zuba’s 10 Things:

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Never Too Young For Colorectal Cancer, With Sandi Stupica

Never Too Young For Colorectal Cancer, With Sandi Stupica

Never Too Young For Colorectal Cancer, With Sandi Stupica

My name is Sandi Stupica and I live in Ypsilanti, MI. This is my sixth year as a high school English teacher at Ypsilanti New Tech. Well, kind of my sixth year. I have been out on long-term disability since September to recover from my two surgeries: the surgery to remove the tumor and, therefore, get the ostomy; and the surgery to remove the ostomy and get the j-pouch. It seems that the surgeries have been successful and I’m feeling much better now! I return to work on April 12trh. Woot!

My Diagnosis
My first year of teaching was in rural, middle-of-the-state Okeechobee, FL. I grew up in Michigan so I wanted to try and find a job in my home state for my second year of teaching. Even though I came back to Michigan, I met some great people in Chobee and stayed in contact via Facebook. In November of 2014, Jason, who was a 32-year-old teacher in Florida, posted that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 colorectal cancer (Later, he would find out that he actually had stage 3). He posted some of the symptoms and why he went to the doctor. I had been feeling discomfort like he had, but I thought I had a lactose intolerance or gluten intolerance. Until 2015, I had no signs of rectal bleeding. To be safe, I reached out to him, as well as doctors. Luckily, my doctor recommended a colonoscopy. I had over forty polyps, and a two-inch tumor closer to my rectum. I had stage 3 colorectal cancer at 29-years-old.
Major Milestones
Having colorectal cancer is a battle. But, I also took on the battle of fertility preservation just in case my reproductive system reacted harshly to the chemotherapy. I decided to not have radiation to increase my chances of fertility in the future. My milestones to colorectal survival are the following: fertility preservation, chemotherapy (with oxaliplatin, leucovorin, and Fulfox5), surgery to remove the tumor and get the ostomy, and the final surgery of the J Pouch. I worked through the fertility preservation and chemotherapy.
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Raising Awareness About Colon Cancer in the Latino Community, With Jasmin Mejia

Jasmin Mejia photo

Jasmin Mejia has worked tirelessly to raise awareness about Colon Cancer in the Latino Community. An active member of the Arizona chapter of the Colon Cancer Alliance, she was recognized by the Colon Cancer Alliance for her efforts. Here is an excerpt from her interview from their website,

Why did you get involved as a Colon Cancer Alliance volunteer? 

I decided to get involved because I wanted to find a way to honor my mother’s memory. She lost her fight against colon cancer at the young age of 42 years old. I was 19 years old when she died and I was her sole care taker. She had surgery early on to try and stop the cancer but it spread quickly throughout her body. After a long day of work, I would come home to care for her, help her change her colostomy bag, bath her and make sure she ate. I also helped with my younger siblings; the youngest was 5 years old at the time.

At that time, there was so little that we knew about this cancer and resources were nowhere to be found. One of the absolute hardest parts of having been through this experience was that, because her doctor was not bilingual, I was the one who had to tell my mom she wasn’t going to make it and would die from this horrible cancer. I volunteer because I don’t want anyone else to have this experience.

Why is Latino outreach vital when it comes to colon cancer? 

I think outreach to the Latino community is vital because prevention is not part of the Latino culture. Most Latinos go to the doctor only when they feel sick, especially the older generation. We also tend to be a lot more conservative when it comes to talking about our bodies, so getting a colonoscopy is sometimes viewed as embarrassing and no one wants to talk about it or acknowledge that they might need to have one done. With our current efforts in Latino outreach, hopefully we can continue moving this dial.

What do you get out of your volunteerism? 

I get a sense of hope that I may have saved a life by simply talking to others about my experience with my mom. Volunteering is what I do to honor my mom’s memory.

What would you like people to know about colon cancer? 

I would love for people to know that prevention is the most effective way to fight this cancer and beat it. Also, the colonoscopy itself is easy and the prep is nothing, especially if you consider that it could save your life!

– See more at:

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Sue Kidera Returns With an Update on SBRT and Lonsurf

Sue Kidera

Sue Kidera

In this episode of The Colon Cancer Podcast, Sue Kidera, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor, returns to the show. She discusses her 10 year journey with colon cancer and her experience with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) and Lonsurf. Sue also talks about how, and why, she takes such an active role in her treatment plan and offers suggestions on how other patients can do the same.


Sadly, Sue passed away in May of 2016

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Founder of “Dress in Blue Day,” Anita Mitchell Isler

Anita Mitchell Isler

Anita Mitchell Isler

In this episode, I have the pleasure of interviewing Anita Mitchell Isler, a stage 4 colon cancer survivor and the woman who founded “Dress in Blue Day.” Anita is also the founder of  Colon STARS,  a non-profit organization who’s mission is to save lives by educating people on the importance of colorectal cancer screening.

Join me as Anita shares her story of beating stage 4 colon cancer and how that motivated her to work tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of people affected by colon cancer in the Seattle, Washington area and across North America.

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