What I learned as a stage IV colorectal cancer survivor

My journey to MD Anderson began in November 2012, when I came down with what I thought was a 24-hour stomach flu. My doctor referred me to a gastrointestinal specialist, who prescribed a probiotic. When my upset stomach still hadn’t gone away a month later, he scheduled a colonoscopy. That’s when he discovered a tumor in my intestines so large that he couldn’t complete the procedure. A CT scan confirmed the presence of a tumor in my colon, as well as lesions on my liver. I had stage IV sigmoid adenocarcinoma – colorectal cancer. I was devastated. I wondered how many days or weeks I had left. I also worried about getting everything in order for my wife. But a relative had been treated for cancer successfully at MD Anderson, so my family insisted that I request an appointment there right away. I’m so glad I did. Finding comfort in colorectal cancer treatment at MD Anderson I was still struggling with my late-stage diagnosis when I met Miguel Rodriguez-Bigas, M.D., at MD Anderson. I told him I regretted not having a colonoscopy earlier. He reassured me, saying, “We’re not here to worry about the past. We’re going to work on improving your health now.” I was concerned about travelling between Tucson, Arizona, and Houston for treatments and wanted to continue working as long as I could. My medical team worked together to make a treatment plan that would best address my needs. Along the way, I had numerous CT scans, MRIs, PET scans and other tests. Knowing that my care team was so thorough was a real comfort to...