Our voices are essential to our individuality and sharing our unique experiences. One of High Fives For Hope’s Spotlight Survivors is Kathryn Brand, a colon cancer survivor. The following is her story in her own unique voice. Kathryn is our second survivor with colon cancer. She acknowledges that routine colonoscopies would have helped detect her cancer much earlier on. High Fives For Hope cannot stress enough the importance of colonoscopies as a means for colorectal cancer detection and prevention.
First of all, let me say it is an HONOR to be spotlighted as one of your cancer survivors. My name is Kathryn Brand; I am 62 years old, married to John for forty years. He has been my rock, in his love, support and care giving. I have two grown boys, both married and have three granddaughters. I live in a small agricultural community at the end of the San Joaquin Valley in Arvin, California. I taught art in a rural school of 250 students for almost twenty years until I had to quit because of these last rounds of chemo treatments.
My story with colon cancer starts in May of 2008. I had severe pain in my right side, had to go to an emergency room. Diagnosed had to have my appendix out, and the pathology report came back saying I had a cancerous growth pressing against my appendix. If I had not had my appendix out, who knows when they would have found my cancer? They took about three feet of colon out and about seven nodules, as they had found three that had cancer in them, so it had metastasized. I waited about six weeks for my surgery to heal up and started thirteen treatments of chemo. I stopped there as blood work and scans showed normal with no tumor.
In about three months a small tumor showed up in the same area – so back to chemo – at that same time they decided to have surgery and get rid of the one tumor. I was showing normal for about three weeks then another tumor showed up in the same area, they seem to pop up like little seeds. So now I am on my seventh treatment of very aggressive chemo, and the last scan could not see any tumor. I think because of my history of things popping up, my physician is going to keep me on chemo for awhile.
With the help of my GOD, family, friends, Kaiser Doctors, nurses, technicians, and cancer research that is funded through Cancer Society, Relay for Life, and High Fives for Hope, we all have a chance of being survivors. My main reason for telling my story is to get the word out – you do not have to be fifty to get your first colonoscopy. If I had a full colonoscopy sooner, my cancer would have been diagnosed earlier. Blessings and hope to all who read my story. — Kathryn Brand
Kathryn’s story, like those of our other Spotlight Survivors, is one of incredible courage and hope. Spotlight Survivors are hopeful for many things but their prevailing hope is that people become aware. Aware of cancer’s effects, aware of the risks, and most importantly, aware of what needs to be done in order to ensure one’s health. With each Spotlight Survivor we like to provide a token of appreciation for their fight, resolve, and passion for a cure. Please consider providing a donation to recognize Kathryn for her efforts.