Cathy, an elementary school assistant principal has the heart of every teacher. It takes a big heart to shape little minds. But with all the hard work, Cathy began noticing some unusual changes in her body. She at first chucked it up to just being a hard worker. But it didn’t take her long before she ended up going through a series of tests. The day after Christmas of 2013, she discovered she had colon cancer which would result to a stage 4. She knew that Moffitt Cancer Center was the place to be, “Once I knew I was at Moffitt, I knew I would survive.”
Signs and Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Cathy’s symptoms were irregular bleeding she describes. However, there are more that should signal a doctor’s appointment:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- An inability to completely empty the bowels
- The presence of blood in the stool
In the Arms of Angels
Cathy is the first to come right out and say that “I had like this inner peace because I knew all the people surrounding me were the angels that were sent to care for me.” Her treatment consisted of surgery and chemotherapy. Her team of specialists, as with every new case is reviewed by Moffitt’s tumor board, who consisted of a multispecialty team who specialized in her treatment.
A Quiet Battle
Cathy didn’t want her young students to know she had cancer. She shielded them from the knowledge of her treatment, covering up all evidence. She says she did it for them because the word cancer was so scary to young children. When she was ready, she told them about her treatment because she had to go away for a little while. When she returned, students and faculty wore red (Cathy’s favorite color) to show them how much they loved her. Cathy is now enjoying her retirement and thinks of Moffitt as a family member because she is grateful for the treatment she received here.