Wednesday Warrior – Colette

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Colette - #78 - WarriorHello, my name is Colette and I’m 44 years old. In 2008, I noticed an awful pain in my right upper thigh. For the longest time I thought it was a pocket of fat that was causing it. LOL! I was gaining weight, so I figured it had to be that. Cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I don’t smoke, do drugs or anything of that nature, so I couldn’t imagine one doctor appointment in May 2008 was going to change my life forever. I was diagnosed with mesenchymal chondrosarcoma.

I started with very aggressive chemotherapy; the tumor was in stage 3 and growing fast. I lost my hair as we all do, and for a woman that was one of my most toughest moments. I looked at my husband and wondered how did he find me beautiful anymore.  I looked at both of my daughters with tears in their eyes wondering how can I be their strong mama bear if I feel weak mentally from the hair loss and physically from the chemo.

With so many questions I had going through my mind, the largest one was how long do I have to live? Unfortunately, the chemotherapy didn’t effect the tumor as expected, so the doctors removed one of my quads muscle in my thigh and I went through months of radiation and physical therapy. For the next three years I was “cancer free” and was starting to enjoy life again. I had a completely new and different perspective on things and enjoyed more family time, tried to cut my stress down more, and was even looking into weight loss options.

All was well until my routine scan in June 2012 turned my world upside down….again. The cancer came back and this time it came back all through my upper body. A total of six tumors. The largest one was under my right armpit, which caused a lot of pain, the others are spread in my lower pelvic area, and a small one in my lung. I attempted a different chemotherapy, but it didn’t work. I knew my options were getting smaller and smaller.

I changed doctors and went to a more specialized cancer facility that had a sarcoma department. I felt I had nothing to lose at this point as I was told the average life span with this disease is five months. I took a chance with a new medication that wasn’t even FDA approved yet (it now is). This chemo treatment was in a pill form, Votrient. I take four pills/800 mg per day. Yes there are side affects, and some days are tougher than others in regards to dealing with it. BUT I’m happy, blessed and proud to say that after being on the medication for 2 years and 4 months, I’m still here! I had the largest tumor removed, to give me some relief and the others remain stable. The doctors say they even see some shrinkage.

I work full time and enjoy everyday of my job but enjoy my family even more. I’m a wife of a loving and patient husband, I’m also mother of two beautiful and brave daughters and have a 3-year-old granddaughter that lights up my world everyday.

We are all warriors to this disease and our strength comes from God, family, friends and last but not least, ourselves. The will to live life is what keeps me going and I pray one day a cure is found so we all can finally be in peace.

That’s my story. 🙂

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If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!