Cancer never strikes at an opportune time. When it hit me I was moving with my young son, Justin, to San Jose, California, after years of running my own business in Los Angeles. It was a hard move because all my family and friends were in Southern California, but I wanted to work in a television station and possibly become a news reporter. A job opened up for a camera operator and I took the job, even though it required a move. I was working at a television station as a camera operator for the 5 and 11 O’clock news. I also worked as a physical education instructor during the day. Having two-part time jobs allowed me to spend time with my son and to take him to his sporting events. I started studying nutrition and the benefits of fresh fruits, vegetables, and juicing. We stopped eating meat and anything that included preservatives or additives. I had a membership at the gym and exercised every morning.
Like many colon cancer patients, one day I noticed some rectal bleeding. I was under a lot of stress at the time so I thought it was due to stress or hemorrhoids. The bleeding only lasted for a few days then stopped. I thought everything was okay, but a few days later it returned and was heavier. The only doctor I saw in those days was my gynecologist, who I saw once a year for my annual exam. I told him I was in the best shape of my life, I was feeling great, but I had some bleeding. He confirmed that I had hemorrhoids, but they did not look bad. He sent me to a surgeon who performed a sigmoidoscopy and found a polyp. He removed it at the time and sent it out for a biopsy. When he showed it to me I thought it looked like an evil thing, but I felt I would be fine because I was taking care of myself and felt great. One week later he had me come back and told me I had Stage I colon cancer and needed a colon resection to make sure the cancer had not spread to my vital organs. Within a few weeks, I went in for the colon resection, and spent a week in the hospital. During this time, I was told that the cancer had not spread and I would require no further treatment.
Cancer was a turning point in my life. I felt my mission in life must be to talk to people about health, nutrition, exercise, and cancer awareness. Since my successful early diagnosis and surgery, I became a runner and ran in many races and started weight lifting and body building. I keep my body strong and healthy through always eating a clean diet filled with foods that benefit my body and give me the energy I need.
I became a Toastmaster to learn how to speak in public so I could speak to people about colon cancer and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I study nutrition so I can keep myself healthy and help others to learn how to eat healthy. I have been cancer free for 14 years. I get a colonoscopy every other year and I speak to people about my experience with cancer and urge everyone to get their colonoscopy if they have any bleeding or unusual bowel problems.