My name is Marie Taurasi, I am 44 years old and I was diagnosed with stage 3 Colorectal Cancer in January 2015.
It all started back in November 2014. I was having very few symptoms, but I decided to have myself checked out anyway. I underwent a colonoscopy and that is when my world came crashing down. I was told that I had stage 3 colorectal cancer. All I could think of was the heartache my husband and two children (age 13 and 17) were feeling and what also went through my head at the time was…”what is going to happen to me?”. I had my 13-year-old daughter look into my eyes with tears and say “mom, are you going to die?” My heart sank, my life and world as I had known it were shattered. This could not be happening to me…..”Cancer”??
Thankfully, a friend introduced me to my “Angel”, Filomena Servidio-Italiano at CCRAN. I immediately called her and from the moment we spoke I knew I was in the best hands possible. She calmed me down and educated me on my disease, which I knew nothing about. I had heard very little about colorectal cancer but never truly understood it. She changed all that. She then referred me to the best cancer centre and team of oncologists. My journey had begun.
Once all was put in place, I underwent radiation and chemotherapy for my rectal cancer in March 2015. In July I underwent surgery and had my tumour removed by the most highly skilled surgical oncologist at the Odette Cancer Centre, Dr. Ashamalla. After 6 weeks I did additional chemotherapy.
I have to say CCRAN has been there from the very beginning, offering guidance and support day or night. Without CCRAN, I would not be where I am today!
I am also grateful to have an amazing and supportive husband and two wonderful children. I am also grateful for the on-going support of family and friends who have been there for me during this difficult time.
Throughout this journey with the education, support and guidance of CCRAN, I have learned a lot about this disease and one thing is “this is not an old person’s disease”. This disease can affect all ages. It does not discriminate. We need to educate ourselves and be pro-active as much as possible. We need to eat healthy, exercise moderately and assume a healthy lifestyle in general so that we can try to prevent colorectal cancer. In the event one does get diagnosed, assuming a healthy lifestyle will come in handy in trying to prevent a recurrence such as in my case. Unbeknown to me, colorectal cancer is the most preventable cancer through screening! People need to be aware of the signs and symptoms though so that we can beat this disease once and for all.
This is where CCRAN comes in. This is an organization that is here for people like you and I, who desperately require support, guidance and above all education so that we can get through the ups and downs that we go through when battling this horrible disease. CCRAN furnishes patients and caregivers with valuable monthly support groups wherein we are able to tell our stories and receive the best up to date information about the management of the disease and the most current medicines and therapies designed to help us.
I am so fortunate that I started my journey with CCRAN because without them I would not be “cancer-free today”! What a gift they gave not only to me but to my precious children and husband!
Thank you, Filomena, for all your support and guidance you have given me and my family!!! You truly are an “Angel”!
If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, please contact CCRAN for it will be the best decision you will make throughout your journey, I promise you that. They have made a huge difference in my life……they gave it back to me!!