It has been over ten years since I underwent a complicated surgery to remove my esophagus. For reasons that no one could explain, a cancerous tumor had been growing in the upper region of my digestive tract. Swallowing was difficult, with food involuntarily regurgitating on the occasions when the cancer caused it to stick in the quickly narrowing passageway.
The surgery radically reconfigured my anatomy. My stomach would no longer be a reservoir for holding food as it digested, slowly releasing the contents to the small intestine where precious nutrients could be absorbed. Something needed to replace the diseased esophagus, so the stomach was stretched up to act as a tube, hand stitched to the bit of esophagus that remained. The small intestine was pressed into new service, now acting like a stomach for me.
It is a scary thing when disease strikes, but our bodies, wonderfully designed, are capable of adapting as treatments pave the way for healing. After the doctors had given me hope for survival and I was beginning to improve physically, I realized that my mind and emotions needed to follow suit. Because I wasn’t sure how to do that, I reached out to Candy’s Place, hoping someone there might understand and offer wisdom. I was immediately wrapped in a warm embrace, and in that safe place, began to process through the trauma, and adjust to limitations imposed by the cancer.
With the help of the staff, volunteers and others touched by cancer, I learned to do more than just survive. At Candy’s Place I began to thrive. I am painfully aware that everyone’s journey through cancer is difficult, and for most of us the bad days far outweigh the good. There is no reason to journey alone. The counselors and programs at Candy’s Place are designed to meet needs along the way, for patients, friends and family members, and caregivers.
No matter how cancer has found it’s way into your life, or where you are in the journey, you will find resources to answer questions, offer support and meet your need at Candy’s Place. Take courage and call or stop by, the sooner the better. I am sure that like me, you will be so glad you did.
With prayers and hope for many blessings in your life,