No one survives life’s toughest challenges alone. Sometimes we have our family, friends and medical professionals by our side to help us. And sometimes, the most important thing we can do is learn from other stories of survival. When we meet people who have not only experienced something similar but actually came through it better and stronger, it provides hope and inspiration. We invite you to Share your Story of “Surviving & Thriving.” Your words could be just the thing someone needs to keep moving forward. Share the gift of hope.
Submitted by Charlie Awad:
I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2004. They gave me 4-5 years to live the rest of my life.
So I had the invasive surgery, followed by chemo and radiation — a living hell. Every week of a completed chemo session, I said I wasn’t doing this again next week. The side effects were just too excruciating for a guy who thought he was so tough, but I had family and friends who told me I had to do it; I had to do it for them.
Six months later, I was done. Like a runner breaking the ribbon, I felt like a real winner. That’s when I had my first thoughts that I needed to make a quest of telling everyone how important it is that early screening will save lives.
All was OK until 2008 when I just didn’t feel well. Since then, it has metastasized to my lungs three more times, requiring three operations including two lung resections and further chemo treatments.
I am now a four-time stage 4 colon cancer survivor/warrior.
After the latest diagnosis I had an dream; I was driving Rt. 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica in my 1950 Dodge, stopping at cancer centers and strategic venues along the way, documenting my journey and advocating early screening, and listening to other patients tell their stories. To me, it wasn’t just a dream; it will be a reality.
Since then, I have created a website www.cancersucks.tv documenting my disease so others may learn from my journey. I share my life in videos, music and photographs, but at the same time, I tell people screening saves lives.
I have become a buddy volunteer with the Colon Cancer Alliance, to advocate to others going through this dreaded disease.
Colon cancer is the second leading killer but also one of the easiest to prevent when diagnosed early.
So, Grim Reaper, beware: Charlie is here and he is kicking your butt, one butt at a time!