June 26, 2023

What I’ve Learned – “I’m really proud of my journey”

Although there are millions of people currently facing cancer, it can be a lonely experience. Not only is each cancer case different, but each patient's life beyond the waiting room is filled with unique strengths, challenges, goals, and relationships. In this series, we celebrate the people who are our patients and share what they've learned while charting their own path.

At 60, Lynn had recently accomplished her lifelong dream of opening her own store when she realized it had been 6 years since her last health check. As it would turn out, that routine checkup would lead to a “whole new chapter” in Lynn’s life.  

How did you know you needed to get screened, and how did you feel about it? Was cancer screening something that was already on your radar? 

During my check-up, my doctor asked if I ever got screened for colon cancer. I was 60 at this point. And when I was flying all over the place for work just a few years before, screening for colon cancer wasn’t on my mind. She said there’s this great product called Cologuard®. I said I know, I live in Madison! That’s where Exact Sciences is based.  

What did life look like for you at that time? 

Life was normal: I own a small business, everything was on track and business was growing nicely. I was about to enjoy the holidays with my husband and family. I had a trip to Spain planned in the new year. Life was perfect. 

Was there anything that made completing your screening challenging? What tip would you give someone in a similar situation? 

I did not want anything invasive. Had I not had the option of Cologuard, I don't think I would have gotten screened. It's in the privacy of my own home, I have control of it - it's a no-brainer. If you're given the option, screen with Cologuard.  

What happened when you received your result? How did you feel at that time? 

My Cologuard test came back positive. When the colonoscopy revealed a tumor that would require surgery, a colon resection, and chemotherapy, I was shocked. I had just entered a whole new chapter.  I had a lump in my stomach, but with the support of my family, I knew things would be fine.  

In the years that followed your diagnosis, was there anything that helped you maintain a sense of normalcy? 

I own a fashion boutique, so getting back to running my business -- the store continues to grow, and it's become a place where people can share their cancer stories. A few of us there have had similar journeys, so there have been many times of tears of joy and happiness together in the store.   

What gave you strength during this time? 

My husband, family and dear friends. My family was a huge support, and my husband treated me like a queen and made sure I followed the doctors’ orders. I also prayed and meditated each morning, which helped me stay focused and calm during my journey.  

Was there a time you advocated for yourself during treatment? 

I always felt in control of my treatment plan. My doctor gave me all the options and we were always in agreement with how to proceed. I also saw my integrative health doctor who had me on great supplements that keep me strong, so none of my treatments ever had to be rescheduled or modified. I was the healthiest I have ever been during my treatment program. 

As a cancer survivor, what would you tell someone who has just been diagnosed with cancer? 

Have faith, take good care of yourself and let others help. 

As a cancer survivor, what would you tell someone who’s going through treatment right now? 

Keep believing. You will survive. Keep the glass half full rather than half empty. Take time to reflect and give to others while you’re receiving so much good from others. 

Did you know June was National Cancer Survivors’ Month? How will you mark this month? 

I’m really proud of my journey. It’s like another badge of honor that goes on my chest. I am a colon cancer survivor. So I’m taking a long overdue vacation with my husband! It's been four years since we've had time away – with my cancer journey and COVID, it's our turn to enjoy a week of relaxation.  

Is there one person in particular that you want to ‘celebrate’ National Cancer Survivors Month with? 

My husband and family! They are all and were amazing during my cancer journey, I couldn't have done it without them!  

Why do you share your story? 

I was blessed with so much kindness during my journey. It’s  my way of giving back. Sharing my story is easy because I had great care and a positive outcome; it's one of the more curable cancers if caught early and the treatment is manageable. I want to be that hope or light for someone going through a journey similar to mine.  

This story reflects one individual’s experience. Not every person will have the same treatment, experience, outcome, or result. Cologuard is prescribed by your health care provider. Talk to your health care provider about available screening options and whether Cologuard may be right for you. There are potential risks associated with the Cologuard test and it may not be appropriate for all patients. For more information about the risks, talk to your health care provider or visit Cologuard.com/risk-information for more information. If you’ve screened for colon cancer with Cologuard, we invite you to connect with the Screen + Me network. Learn more here