We can’t think of a better way to celebrate May Day than to introduce you to Connie Belden. She’s one of the quickest-witted people we know and brings a smile to everyone she meets. And a joke. Learn a little bit more about Ms. May 2012, Connie Belden!
The BASICS about CONNIE BELDEN
Diagnosis date: Stage I colon cancer on October 6, 2006
ON SURVIVING CANCER:
Where were you when you found out you had colon cancer? I was at work. They called me at 5pm in the afternoon, right when I was leaving. Then I had to drive home; I was not a happy camper.
How did you feel when you were diagnosed with colon cancer? I was convinced it was a mistake.
What were your symptoms? I’d dealt with colitis for two or three years and was hospitalized for it in 2006. I had cramping and sweating. I was in the hospital for a few days with that. When discharged, they suggested I get a colonoscopy. I’m glad I listened to them. Although I work in a hospital each day, it didn’t really influence me to get screened. I assumed I was too young for colon cancer, and that my symptoms and discomfort were just from colitis.
What did your treatment involve? Sigmoid resection that removed the tumor that they found.
What was the hardest part about treatment? The surgery itself.
What got you through cancer treatment? My family. My kids were in elementary school so I took things one day at a time. Husband is a cancer survivor of melanoma so he was helpful.
Does cancer run in your family? Believe it or not gall bladder does, but no history of colon.
WHAT HAS SURVIVING COLON CANCER TAUGHT YOU…
About life? Don’t sweat the little stuff
About family? They’re the most important.
About your body? I need to listen to it.
Do you do anything now that you didn’t before, thanks to cancer? Our diet is much more healthy; we’re much more conscious of what we feed the kids and ourselves.
Has cancer changed your life for the better in any ways? I am a nagging advocate in my place of employment and my family about colon cancer and screening. People roll their eyes when I start talking about it now.
What do you hope your message and survival story will do for others? Early detection. I hope people realize that just because you have the diagnoses doesn’t make it a death sentence. You still have a 93% cure rate when it’s stage 1. You have to listen to your body when it’s trying to tell you something.
RANDOM INFO ABOUT CONNIE
Family: husband Scott and 2 kiddos (Parker and Cameron)
Job? Radiologic Technologist
First job? McDonalds
Hobbies? I love to read fiction, trashy romance novels and the “classics.” I’m reading through list of “books you should read before you die.” Outside of that I cart my kids around everywhere.
Pets? 2 rescue dogs – a black lab and boxer mutt
Where are you from? I grew up in Clark Summit, PA and live in Collegeville, PA
Crazy Irrational Fear? Boats
Craziness? To get nurses attention during surgery, I would start to tell dirty jokes over the intercom.