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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
September 12, 2012 Issue
The story of one cancer survivor
By Robert Webster
Rewind my life back seven years. I walked four miles twice a day. At 6 foot, 3 inches and 230 pounds I was in pretty good shape.
I participated in many public walking events such as the
D’Feet Breast Cancer Race for the Cure
with my wife and friends. Retired from a career with the parks board in Plano, I’d recently moved to Galveston with my wife and young daughter. I worked part-time as a captain at Texas A&M University in Galveston while studying there — first for my bachelor’s and then for my master’s degree in marine resources management. I had just started working on my Ph.D. Life was good.
A couple of months before my 50th birthday, I started having to take at least one break per walk at the portable restrooms along the seawall. My body was trying to tell me something was wrong. As I kept trying to convince myself that this was just part of getting older, I started to worry it might be something more serious.
When I turned 50, I decided, with prompting from my wife, who happens to be a member of the University of Texas Medical Branch nursing faculty, to schedule a colonoscopy. The test revealed a problem. My long journey as a cancer survivor began.
It has been nearly seven years since that colonoscopy, and I’ve been fighting back against a very aggressive cancer ever since. If it hadn’t been for all the different health professionals at UTMB who have been fighting alongside me every step of the way, I am sure I would not still be here today.
I have heard so many stories from others I’ve met on this journey who reached a point at other cancer facilities where they were told there was nothing else that could be done to help them. They were basically told to get their affairs in order and give up the fight.
After I spoke to them, they learned they did have other options — UTMB — new tumor ablation techniques for example — that could give them more precious time.
To help other patients who have colorectal or gastrointestinal cancer, the
UTMB Cancer Center
is forming a support group that will begin meeting soon to help people like us work together to figure out how to deal with the wide array of challenges that we face. It’s a group for men and women and their spouses and/or caregivers.
The first meeting will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the UTMB Health Clinics building at 1005 Harborside Drive, third floor, Suite 3.618, in Galveston.
At this initial meeting, we will figure out together what goals we hope to achieve and what steps we need to take to get there. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with colorectal or gastrointestinal cancer and are interested in possibly taking part in this new group, call the UTMB Cancer Center at 409-747-4087. For information about UTMB’s Cancer Center, visit utmbhealth.com/cancercare.
I look forward to meeting and working with you and welcoming you into the UTMB family of cancer survivors.
Robert Webster lives in Galveston and is a TAMUG doctoral student. He has been battling colon cancer for nearly seven years.
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