Hello, my name is Joseph Medley. Here is my story...
At 42 years old, on January 16th 2016, I was diagnosed with colonrectal cancer.
I had two prior instances when I had bleeding out of the rectum. The third time, it became really bad. I was in the bathroom continually. My wife and children had been at church, and when my wife came home, we started talking about going to the ER. Before we could, I passed out in the bathroom, and she called the paramedics.......
After an overnight stay in the hospital, drinking the prep, I had a colonoscopy done the next day. That colonoscopy revealed a tumor, at the base of the sphincter muscle, labeled at that time Stage 1. So, the plan was made to do a surgery that would remove the tumor, and give me a temporary ileostomy bag while my body healed......
Shortly after what we thought was a successful surgery, I got an infection that was affecting my surgical wounds. We had a drain surgically implanted, while we treated for the infection. The complications continued, and required another surgery.........
We started to realize the damage that had been done to my body, and we were faced with the realization that life may never be normal again. It came down to one of two scenarios:
Scenario 1: I will have to wear a diaper for the rest of my life, because I will never regain control, or...
Scenario 2: I could get a permanent colostomy bag installed.
After many conversations and a lot of prayer, my wife, doctors, and I decided to go with scenario 2.
So, we had the surgery to fix the infection and other issues, as well as removing the ileostomy bag and installing the permanent colostomy.
This surgery resulted in a 16 day hospital stay. The night after my surgery, I aspirated, and that put me in ICU, after Rapid Response saved my life. I then ended up with pneumonia, staph infection, MRSA, on oxygen, etc......
My wonderful wife never left my side the entire hospital stay. She was so incredibly strong for me through this entire illness, and continues to be.
As a result of this surgery, they also found more cancer. This cancer was labeled Stage 3, and turned life upside down instantly. As a result, there was a treatment plan implemented including chemotherapy and radiation.
After 7 weeks of recovering from everything that happened in the hospital, we started the chemotherapy treatment. My treatment consisted of two weekly visits, 4-5 hours each visit, as well as wearing a portable chemo pump whenever I wasn’t at the Cancer Center. We went through 2 complete rounds of this, each round consisting of 6 weeks.
During the second round, we incorporated the radiation into the treatment plan. The radiation was every weekday, for a 6 week period.
By mid-December of 2016, the very long year was coming to an end. I completed all treatments, and officially labeled “in remission”
I knew that cancer was a horrible thing, but I never realized how horrible the treatments are. I believe to this day that the only symptom I ever had, from the cancer itself, is some bleeding. But the list of symptoms and side effects from the treatments are a mile long.......
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful for the treatments, and believed they were used to save my life. I’m just saying that though treatments are successful in battling cancer, it is horrible what the treatments do to a person.
The radiation literally burned my entire pelvic area, to the extent of my body literally splitting open. Thankfully, I have fully recovered from all of the radiation side effects, though I still experience some hip pain that was never an issue before radiation.
The chemotherapy has a different lasting effect. I can’t even really fully explain it, or even fully personally understand it myself. I just know that my thought processes, reactions, decision making, etc. has been drastically affected from the chemotherapy. I really am not even the same person anymore in many ways.
That said, I returned to work in March of 2017, and have been working 50-60 hours a week ever since.
I praise and thank God for my salvation and His presence with me through all of this. I have no idea how I could have even made it through without Him, and I know that my wife and children would say the same.
One of my hopes going forward is that somehow some way my story might be used to help inform, strengthen, or encourage somebody else.
But for somebody looking for any hope, or peace, I would point to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is always there with open arms to “whosoever will”