Colorectal cancer survivor: How I found hope at MD Anderson

In April 2013, I was a 37-year-old pediatrician with a busy practice and a hectic family life. I didn’t have time to be sick. But when my bloody stools, bowel changes and abdominal pains became persistent enough that I couldn’t ignore them anymore, I finally sought treatment from my local internist. My doctor ordered scans and blood tests. The blood tests came back fine, but the scan showed a large tumor in my lower left colon. So, my doctor set up a colonoscopy and a biopsy with a gastroenterologist. I guess I already knew what the doctor was going to say when he called. After all, I’ve used similar words when delivering unwelcome news over the course of my career, too. But nothing in my experience could have prepared me for my own cancer diagnosis. How I told my family I had colorectal cancer My doctor told me I had stage III colorectal cancer, which meant that it had spread beyond its original location. The minute I heard “cancer,” my brain took a big time out, so I don’t remember much else about that day. I remember hugging my wife and crying a lot. I remember telling my son, who had just turned 9, and my daughter, who was 6. Then I did my best acting job ever. I told them confidently not to worry, because I was going to do my best to fight it. Papa was going to be OK. Why I got a second opinion The truth is, I had no real basis for saying that. I had no guarantees then, and I still don’t. But...