December 2006

Karen & George’s Colondar Bios

KAREN SMITH | Age at Diagnosis: 42  | Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA

GEORGE SHANNON | Age at Diagnosis: 43 | Hometown: Troy, NY

Karen Smith and George Shannon, both healthy with no family history of gastrointestinal trouble and almost no symptoms, were shocked by colon cancer. Despite their diagnoses, they returned to their athletic lifestyles to prove to themselves that they would triumph over/defeat cancer.

Karen didn’t know anything was wrong until routine bloodwork showed anemia. Iron supplements helped, but then she had severe pain in her side. She had a stool test, a colonoscopy, and surgery, and her doctor told her that she had stage II colon cancer.
She started chemotherapy, but soon began exercising although she had been told she might be too weak. Karen has been cancer-free for almost three years, and continues the exercise that is so important to her.
George was training for a marathon and playing ice hockey, but no matter how hard he tried, his performance wouldn’t improve. He had slight pain in his side, but thought he had pulled a muscle. When it returned, he finally went to his doctor, who immediately scheduled a colonoscopy.
The exam showed a tumor, so George had a CT scan and surgery and was diagnosed with stage II colon cancer. Soon he was
back to his old routine, running and playing ice hockey again. He has now been cancer-free for almost three years and maintains the active life he had before cancer.