Every March for the earlier five yrs, Amy Figgs has taken to social media to remind her relatives, close friends and followers to get a colonoscopy. Making use of #CheckYerButt, Amy has grow to be an advocate for colon most cancers just after she was identified the day soon after her 45th birthday.
The day right after her 45th birthday, Amy Figgs discovered herself in the healthcare facility with serious stomach suffering. She soon uncovered it was considerably more than a lousy stomachache. Medical practitioners in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, diagnosed her with metastatic colon cancer.
“I was stage 4 with cancer in my colon and my liver,” remembers the mom of two. “They fundamentally told me I was inoperable.”
Amy wasn’t about to give up, so she started a biweekly chemotherapy regimen. But fear was at any time-present. By mid-2016, Amy understood she owed herself a 2nd view.
“I experienced almost nothing to shed, so I picked up the cellular phone and termed Mayo Clinic,” she suggests.
That simply call opened the door to new treatment possibilities and a new way ahead for Amy, who will celebrate 5 years of remaining cancer-cost-free this 12 months.
A more intense method
Following building a 10-hour push to Mayo Clinic in Florida, Amy achieved with a group of medical experts that included Amit Merchea, M.D., a colorectal surgeon, and Justin Burns, M.D., a liver transplantation surgeon.
“Colorectal cancer is really typical in the United States, impacting about 140,000 people today per year,” Dr. Merchea states. “It really is a ailment exactly where we have had dramatic improvement in conditions of total survival. And with surgical intervention, most individuals can obtain a treatment.”
“They designed no promises, but they gave me hope,” Amy says. And soon after some more testing, she returned to Kentucky when her care team created a approach to manage her condition.
“The multidisciplinary strategy of Mayo Clinic makes it possible for us to help clients like Amy with complicated tumors in her colon and liver,” Dr. Merchea says. “Despite what she was explained to elsewhere, we felt we could remove the tumors and supply her a much better probability at very long-expression survival.”
Amy was on her way to an outing with pals when she bought a contact from Dr. Merchea. “As before long as he reported, ‘We can do this’, I just commenced crying,” she says.
“It is really widespread for people to be informed that there is almost nothing surgically that can be finished for them in each colon most cancers and liver most cancers,” Dr. Burns states. “Fortunately, surgical tactics have developed so that we can be additional aggressive and can get out far more most cancers.”
On Nov. 10, 2016, Drs. Merchea and Burns worked jointly to eliminate the cancer from Amy’s entire body. “In a single procedure, we ended up able to eliminate the affected areas of her colon and liver,” Dr. Burns says. “That intended a shorter hospital continue to be, and a more quickly restoration and return to usual lifestyle.”
Watch: Amy Figg’s story of beating colon most cancers.
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A vocal advocate
Following the operation, Amy ongoing chemotherapy for a number of months ahead of graduating to the status each and every cancer individual needs: no proof of condition. She has remained cancer-free of charge considering that. “It is really a good feeling,” claims Amy, who now undergoes once-a-year surveillance near her property in Kentucky.
Seeking again on her journey, Amy admits that in the early days of her analysis, she was just going through the motions and was gradual to approach. About time, nevertheless, she realized how crucial it was for her to advocate for herself ― a message she now passes on to other individuals.
Amy shares her encounters with many others by way of an on the internet blog, social media and local community outreach. She is publishing a poetry e-book that involves some of the composing impressed by her expertise with cancer. And every March, she will take to her social media feed to remind people to have a colonoscopy and speak up if they believe one thing is just not correct.
“I want some others to know that it really is Ok to not just to acquire the info you are supplied. Talk to inquiries, do your study and then make conclusions that are ideal for you,” she claims. “Mayo Clinic empowered me to have handle in what was happening to me,” she suggests.
Her daily life now is a stark distinction to what her physicians initially predicted.
Nowadays, Amy enjoys a new career doing work with homeless young grownups ― a placement she loves ― and has celebrated many each day times, including observing her daughter graduate school and her son prosper in virtual school. Options are underway for a hiking journey to California once COVID-19 vacation limits relieve.
“It’s not often about the large milestones,” Amy says. “Section of my gratitude to Mayo Clinic is remaining able to rejoice nowadays. Most cancers is still normally on my mind, but it hasn’t stopped me from residing an remarkable life.”
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