Colon Cancer Patient Proves ‘Stage Four’ Does Not Mean ‘Terminal’

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Colon Cancer Patient Proves ‘Stage Four’ Does Not Mean ‘Terminal’

This Second Opinion is Key to Finding the Right Cancer Care Team

Routine Screening Reveals Colon Cancer and Spurs a Winning Partnership with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers' Network

Stage four colon cancer patient receives ninth chemo infusion at RMCCCori Geare turned 50 in May 2020 and diligently scheduled her first colonoscopy. Having no family history of colon cancer or underlying medical issues, finding the right colon cancer team was the farthest thing from her mind. Twelve rounds of infused chemo and a colon resection surgery later, the 51-year-old is cherishing every moment with loved ones.

Cori has been cancer-free since June 2021 thanks to her positive mindset, the steadfast support system of family and friends, and finding the right colon cancer team at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC), a member of The US Oncology Network.

Her journey began in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, delaying her colonoscopy from May 2020 until January 2021 when she was diagnosed with colon cancer at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker, CO. Scans revealed a tumor in Cori’s colon and cancer in her lower lymph nodes along with two small spots on her liver. Four days later, she met with her new oncology doctor.

“It was the worst four days of my life,” Cori says. “I had so many questions and no answers. All I knew for certain was that I had colon cancer.”

A Plan of Action

Anxious to start treatment, Cori had surgery the following week to place a port in her chest that would help her receive chemo and a liver biopsy to determine whether the spots were cancerous. Finally, the results of the liver biopsy showed that her colon cancer had indeed spread to her liver. Hence, Cori’s cancer was categorized as stage four. 

chemo bag wrapped in rosary, using both faith and colon cancer care team to fight cancer

“When you hear someone say ‘stage four,' there is always a pause because it's the worst possible news,” says Cori, who works as a credentialing coordinator at Blue Sky Neurology. “I equate these words as ‘terminal.’ My world went silent, and I thought I was dying.”

Colon cancer treatment would consist of a routine 12 rounds of chemo. Cori began chemo treatments on February 8, 2021, easing the intense four-hour sessions with soft blankets, a good book, and hot tea, and wrapping her chemo bags in her grandmother’s rosary before kissing them and praying for the treatment to work.

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Finding the Right Colon Cancer Care Team

Cori decided to fight with all her might. But first, she needed a second opinion and an oncology team that she could connect with, something that she felt was lacking. A family friend who works for RMCC referred her to Dr. Manoj Bupathi, and Cori immediately found that cradle of kindness and support she’d been seeking.

“He was warm, reassuring, and confident that we would beat this cancer,” she says. “Dr. Bupathi said I would have a team of doctors, surgeons, and nurses ready to help me through treatment. I was not dying, and I had a team backing me up.”

After four months of treatment, Cori cried happy tears when the ER doctor’s smile stretched wide beneath his facemask and he reported that the cancer had been eradicated barring one spot on her liver. But then challenges came along in the form of a trip to the ER, a blood clot on her lung, sepsis, and hospitalization with heavy antibiotics.

Finally, after eight chemo treatments, a Zoom call with her physician’s assistant delivered the news she’d been waiting for since she began treatment: Her CT Scan was clear, the tumor in her colon was gone, her lymph nodes were clear, and the two liver spots had calcified. She was cancer free.

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Moving Forward in Good Hands

Following that news, Cori and her family met with Dr. Bupathi’s recommended surgeon, Dr. Santosh Nandi, to review her diagnosis and tests up to this point. “Besides his medical training, he was everything I wanted in a doctor. He was personable, warm, and caring. Dr. Bupathi was right again; he had a team behind me.”

Cori completed the last four rounds of her 12 total chemo treatments in September 2021. A successful surgery in November removed 12 inches of her colon, 14 lymph nodes, and created a temporary ileostomy. The surgery was to prevent the cancer from recurring.

Stronger Than Cancer

stage four cancer survivor with horse that provided support while she underwent cancer treatment Currently recovering from surgery and a successful battle with cancer, Cori says all of her prayers have been answered.

“I am thankful for every drop of chemo that I received and I don’t take my success for granted,” she says. “I know that this battle will be lifelong for me. I wake up every morning thanking God for another beautiful day and thanking Him for His beautiful work.”

For others on their own cancer journeys, Cori says it’s important to remember that together you, your doctors, and modern medicine can destroy and oftentimes cure cancer. Truly, finding the right colon cancer care team is integral to success.

“You are stronger than your cancer,” she says. “Never give up and remain positive to fight for a life worth fighting for.”

Finding the right colon cancer care team for your journey is crucial. And, know that it’s okay to get a second opinion to ensure you feel comfortable and informed every step of the way. Find out more colorectal cancer treatment at RMCC.

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