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A Routine Colonoscopy Saved His Life, With John Cavanaugh


Dr. John Cavanaugh

A Routine Colonoscopy Saved His Life, With John Cavanaugh

in May of 2014 John Cavanaugh was diagnosed with colon cancer after a routine colonoscopy.

John’s story was profiled in this Colon Cancer Coalition’s Faces of Blue article.

On my 50th birthday, I promised my wife I would make an appointment for a full physical. On May 5, 2014, my primary physician, Dr. Troy Fate, MD scheduled a routine colonoscopy. I had two polyps removed and one turned out to be cancerous with positive margins. After a consultation with Dr. Scott Brill, a Colon and Rectal Surgeon at Ohio Health in Columbus, we elected for surgery on June 6th (Lilly’s birthday). Dr. Brill found no evidence of cancer in the section removed, but one lymph node out of 13 tested positive for cancer cells. One of the risks of my operation was the possibility of a leak. Unfortunately, that occurred and I fell ill with sepsis which required a second emergency surgery. Luckily Dr. Brill is an Army Veteran with trauma experience so he was able to save my life. I needed two additional procedures to install drains for fluid build up near my lungs. My wife never left my side for a month and slept next to me on a recliner (Much like the scene where Robin Williams describes the meaning of love to Matt Damon on the park bench in Good Will Hunting).

After a several rounds of antibiotics, I recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital with a temporary ileostomy. After three weeks of intensive physical and occupational therapy at home, I was able to participate in our daughter’s wedding ceremony. Then I endured several months of chemotherapy that made me look like the main character from “Unbroken”. In December, right before my birthday and the Christmas holidays, Dr. Brill reversed the diversion and I spent much of 2015 recuperating. On May 5, 2015, Dr. Brill performed a colonoscopy which resulted in a normal finding. Later in December, I had a CT scan and received a clean bill of health. I continued to be followed closely by my oncologist with regular blood screening, but am now back to work full-time.

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Links Mention In This Episode:

The Colon Cancer Coalition:  https://coloncancercoalition.org

Cancer + Careers: https://www.cancerandcareers.org/en

WE Have Cancer Links

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Know someone touched by cancer who has an inspiring story?

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Jack’s Caregiver Coalition – Cancer Support For Men In the Twin Cities


Kyle Woody is the founder of Jack’s Caregiver Coalition, a non-profit organization striving to provide world-class hospitality to men who care cancer caregivers in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. The mission of Jack’s is to improve the way men think, feel and act in their role as cancer caregivers.

During our conversation we discussed:

  • The unique needs that men have when serving as caregivers.
  • How Jack’s is an event-based group, providing an alternative to the traditional “sit in a circle” support group. These events have included ax throwing, fishing and hunting outings and golf games.
  • The bonding and deep conversations that naturally happen at these events.
  • The long-term goal to grow to a national organization supporting men who serve as caregivers for those affected by more than cancer, including Alzheimers, A.L.S. and Post-Traumatic Stress.

Links mentioned on the show

Contact Jack’s Caregiver Coalition via email – contactus@jackscaregiverco.org

Call Jack’s Caregiver Coalition – (612) 547-6929

Follow Jack’s on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jackscaregiverco

Follow Jack’s on Twitter – https://twitter.com/jackscaregiver

Follow Jack’s on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jackscaregiverco/

Follow Jack’s on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8JT0S_wxclzLA7ElMW_WVA

WE Have Cancer Links

Subscribe to the show:

Follow WE Have Cancer on Social Media

Like our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

Join our private Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/wehavecancershow/

Follow us on Twitter – https://twitter.com/wehavecancerpod

Follow us on Instagram – https://instagram.com/wehavecancerpod

Know someone touched by cancer who has an inspiring story?

Nominate a guest to appear on the podcast – https://wehavecancershow.com/guest

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How One Person Can Influence Favorable Cancer Legislation, With Michael Holtz


How One Person Can Influence Favorable Cancer Legislation, With Michael Holtz

Michael Holtz is a 6 1/2 year survivor of Stage IIIB rectal cancer and is the author of the book It’s Not Harder Than Cancer. Michael first appeared on this podcast in 2015. You can listen to that interview here.

Michael and I discussed the cancer advocacy work he’s been doing with the American Cancer Society and as the Tennessee state representative for the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network – ACS CAN.

In April 2018 the Provision CARES Foundation recognized Michael Holtz as the Patient Advocate of the Year.

 

Links Mentioned In The Show

Michael Holtz’ website – http://www.michaelholtzonline.com/

Michael on Facebook – https://facebook.com/michaelandrewholtz/

Michael on Twitter – https://twitter.com/michaelholtz

It’s Not Harder Than Cancer – Available on Amazon

 

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The Lung Cancer Alliance; Supporting Lung Cancer Patients for over 20 Years


Lung Cancer Alliance

The Lung Cancer Alliance; Supporting Lung Cancer Patients for over 25 Years

Andrew Ciupek is the Manager of Clinical Research at the Lung Cancer Alliance. For over 25 years the Lung Cancer Alliance has provided information, education and support to patients, survivors, caregivers and family members of those affected by the #1 cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.

Andrew discusses the various types of support offered by the Lung Cancer Alliance and provides updates on clinical research and immunotherapy.

To learn more about the Lung Cancer Alliance

Visit their website: https://lungcanceralliance.org/

Call the toll-free patient support line: 1-800-298-2436

 

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Charles Griffin Jr. Copes With His Stage IV Cancer Through Faith and Positivity

Charles Griffin Jr.

Charles Griffin Jr. Copes With His Stage IV Cancer Through Faith and Positivity

Charles Griffin, Jr. was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at the age of 32. Shortly after, he discovered the Colon Cancer Alliance through their Facebook group COLONTOWN. It opened his eyes to the wonderful community of support for those impacted by this disease! Read his story below. 

In my 34 years of life, I’ve earned a reputation for being a do-it-all kind of guy. I’m a husband to my college sweetheart Britni, a father to our four young daughters, a former college football star, an avid golfer, a motivational speaker, a YouTube entertainer and a novice screenwriter.  My name is Charles Griffin Jr. and I never thought I would be a stage IV colon cancer patient. I’m reaching out to you today to ask you to join me in supporting the Colon Cancer Alliance. Two years ago, I suffered excruciating abdominal pain while playing golf. With no family history and no additional symptoms, I had to beg my doctor for a colonoscopy which revealed a golf ball-size tumor in my colon. Further testing showed the cancer had metastasized with multiple tumors to my lungs and liver. I was in the prime of my life with a beautiful family and a budding career when I got the worst news imaginable. I had stage IV colon cancer. Shortly thereafter, I discovered the Colon Cancer Alliance through their Facebook group Colontown. It opened my eyes to the wonderful community of support for those of us impacted by this disease. But now that I’m two years into my treatment, I’m eager for a cure, or at least treatment options that aren’t as taxing on my body. That’s why I support the Colon Cancer Alliance and their deep commitment to colon cancer-specific research. The Colon Cancer Alliance has taken an even bolder stance on research going forward, committing publicly to grow its investment in colorectal cancer-specific research to $10 million by 2021. Research that could ultimately save my life. I’m proud that the Colon Cancer Alliance is on the cutting-edge, exploring immunotherapy, biomarkers and personalized medicine. In 2016 alone, the Colon Cancer Alliance, in partnership with the Never Too Young Coalition, funded two grants to help researchers explore young-onset colorectal cancer in an attempt to better understand why people under the age of 50, like myself, are being diagnosed with this devastating disease. This is where you come in. Through your generous donation, the Colon Cancer Alliance will be able to expand its funding for life-saving and innovative research, putting us closer to realizing our vision of eliminating colon cancer in our lifetime. With your support, there will be a future for me and the thousands of other colon cancer patients waiting for a cure. Please give today. I am the reason Tomorrow Can’t Wait. Click here to listen to me tell my story.

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Fred and Heather Schiller Are Coping With Cancer Through Love


What an honor it is to share episode #100 with you. Never did I realize when I launched the podcast 3 1/2 years ago that I would someday be talking about such a milestone.

I could not think of a better way to celebrate this important episode than by sharing Heather and Fred’s story.

I met them at Fight CRC’s annual Call-on Congress earlier this year. Heather serves as an ambassador for Fight CRC. Their story touched me in so many ways. During this interview we discussed Heather’s wonderful progress in her clinical trial. When I saw Heather during our Skype interview – which was conducted in May, 2018 – I almost didn’t recognize her; she looked that good!

The three of us also discussed the impact has on a marriage and how they’ve relied on their love for each other, and their faith, to cope with Heather’s disease.

Links Mentioned in This Episode of WE Have Cancer

Heather’s One Million Strong story: https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/blog/meet-one-million-strong-heather-schiller-georgia/

FightCRC: https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/

Follow Heather on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tisHeather

Follow Heather on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tisHeather

Follow Fred on Instagram: https://instagram.com/fs_7phoenix

Follow WE Have Cancer:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wehavecancerpod

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wehavecancerpod

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Interview With 20-Year Cancer Survivor, Randy Lopez


Randy Lopez is a 20-year survivor of Stage IV colon cancer. He was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 34.

We talked about the lasting impact that his diagnosis has had on him and how taking an integrative approach to his treatment, through the support of the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment, helped him tremendously.

He shared the variety of advocacy work that he’s done, working with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and presently, as a board member for the Colon Cancer Coalition.

As a marketing professional, Randy runs own marketing and branding agency, The JAKE Agency. He leveraged his branding talent in creating the iconic colon cancer awareness logo: 

 

 

 

Randy was featured on CNN’s Special Investigation: Saving Your Life hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

 

Links Mentioned in This Episode of WE Have Cancer

The Colon Cancer Coalition: https://coloncancercoalition.org/

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance: https://www.ccalliance.org/

Block Center | Integrative Cancer Treatment: http://blockmd.com/

Follow Randy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/stage4survivor

Follow WE Have Cancer:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wehavecancerpod

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wehavecancerpod

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Chad Schrack Is Walking Across the U.S. to Raise Colon Cancer Awareness. Allison Rosen Is One of Cancer’s Rising Stars and Emerging Leaders

Chad Schrack

Chad Schrack – WE Have Cancer

There are two interviews in this episode. Chad Schrack is walking across the United States, from Arlington, Virginia, to Venice Beach, California, to raise awareness for colorectal cancer. Chad’s wife Sheila is a 12 year survivor of Stage III colorectal cancer.

You can read more about Chad’s story here: https://fightcolorectalcancer.org/cancer-stroll/

Follow Chad on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CancerStroll

Follow Chad on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cancerstroll

Follow Chad on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cancerstroll/

Allison Rosen – WE Have Cancer podcast

Allison Rosen was diagnosed with colorectal cancer at the age of 32. She had been dealing with the challenges of Crohn’s Disease since she was a teenager.

Follow Allison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ARosen380

Follow Allison on Instagram: https://instagram.com/alicat380

Other links mentioned in the show:

MD Anderson myCancerConnection: https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/patient-support/mycancerconnection.html

MD Anderson Cancer180: https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/patient-support/cancer180.html

The Colon Cancer Coalition: https://coloncancercoalition.org/

Jeannie’s Blue Angels: https://fundraise.ccalliance.org/blue-star-tributes/Jeannie

 

Follow WE Have Cancer:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wehavecancerpod

Instagram: https://instagram.com/wehavecancerpod

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Pride, Love and Cancer, With Paula and Lara Chambers


Pride, Love and Cancer, With Paula and Lara Chambers - WE Have Cancer

Pride, Love and Cancer, With Paula and Lara Chambers – WE Have Cancer

Paula and Lara Chambers are high school sweethearts and have been together for over 30 years. In October of 2014 they traveled from their home in Houston, Texas to New York City so that they could be married.

Paula had been dealing with “stomach issues” for some time. Unfortunately she became very ill immediately after the wedding and soon after was diagnosed with Colon Cancer.

In our conversation we talked about their relationship and the challenges that gay couples may face when dealing with a life-changing event like a cancer diagnosis.

Paula and Lara said they could not have gotten through their diagnosis with out the support of ColonTown and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.

To learn more about Colontown, visit https://colontown.org/

To learn more about the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, https://www.ccalliance.org/

Be sure to connect with the show:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wehavecancerpod/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WEHaveCancerPod

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Rafael Martin Is Walking 50 Miles To Raise Awareness For Prostate Cancer

Rafael Martin – WE Have Cancer

On June 15, 2018, Rafael Martin, a Special Education Teacher at Cypress Creek High School and a Cancer Survivor, will march 26.2 miles from a Subway in Davenport to Universal City Walk in Orlando.  He will be finishing a 50 mile march he started on Memorial Day.  He attempted to walk from the Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center to Orlando on that day, but almost halfway through he was overcome from fatigue due to his cancer treatments and he fainted.  After seeing Rafael’s story his fellow educators from his school, family and friends reached out to him and offered to walk with him the rest of the way so he could finish his march.

 

He will begin the march from the Subway at 45489 Hwy 27 Davenport, FL 33897 at 7am and finish the walk at Universal City Walk around 6 pm.  He is giving himself plenty of time to rest and hydrate on the way, and this time he will be walking with family and friends to make sure he makes it.

 

“I feel like I let a lot of people down when I couldn’t finish the walk on Memorial Day,” Rafael said. “However, I was overwhelmed with all of the support I received from people who saw my story and wanted to help.  My main message is that cancer in America is an epidemic, and our government is not treating it that way.  It has become so common that everyone knows someone with cancer or they have cancer.  This has to stop.”

 

He is walking in order to raise donations for the center and to raise awareness about the cancer epidemic in America.  He is currently receiving treatment at the Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center for prostate cancer, where he has been a patient  since March 2014.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, there were 1,688,780 new cases of cancer in America in and 600,920 Americans died from cancer in 2017. Across the world an estimated 7.6 million people die from cancer every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely. Rafael Martin believes that this number is far too high.

 

The donations will go directly to the Lakeland Regional Health Hollis Cancer Center where he is currently receiving treatment.  He is working directly with the center and they support his efforts.  The funds will be used to help patients at the center receives the treatments they need in order to survive cancer.  Rafael Martin is a Survivor, and he wants to help all of the other Survivors everywhere who fight Cancer every day.

 

Rafael has made previous walks and runs to raise donations and awareness of the cancer epidemic.  In 2014 he made a 250 mile run/walk to Tallahassee.  Please see the link below for the story of that journey:  http://www.wtsp.com/mobile/article/news/local/a-man-on-a-mission-to-fight-cancer/67-300417787

His story was featured on the local NBC affiliate:

 

A Go Fund Me account has been created to help Rafael raise donations for his 50 mile Memorial Day Walk. Donations can be made to him directly by logging into his account at:

https://www.gofundme.com/raising-donations-to-fight-cancer

 

Donations can also be mailed directly to Rafael at the following address:

Rafael Martin

5850 Cypress Gardens Blvd. #103

Winter Haven, FL 33884

 

Be sure to connect with the show:

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wehavecancershow/

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wehavecancerpod/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/WEHaveCancerPod

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