Colon Cancer Grad- Ellen
Name: Ellen Mello
Age at Enrollment: 30
Major: Stage III Colon Cancer
What were the primary symptoms you experienced prior to diagnosis?
NOW that I look back I had many symptoms but didn’t know it, BUT the one that really got me thinking and in the doctors office was the time I spent going to the bathroom. At first I thought that the house I was living had old pipes (because I was a newlywed in a new house) because when I was going to the bathroom my stool would float and not go down the toilet. After that the frequency of times going increased and a few months later it started coming out with mucus and blood. That’s when I decided to go see someone.
What symptom(s) lead you to go to the doctor?
I had a colonrectomy and six months of chemo.
What was your hardest moment (or moments) thus far and how did you you get through it/them?
A half hour before my first round of chemo I got a call from the fertility doctor saying that NONE of our embryos were “good enough” to be frozen...mind you I was that person that didn’t want kids, until the doctor told me I COULDN’T have kids.
The doctor said my eggs were “old” eggs and didn’t make it to the stage to be frozen.
As I sat in the bathroom having a melt down, my husband came home and told me that there were SO MANY different way for us to HAVE a family that I didn’t need to stress about that now, that my focus was on getting better.
What has been your biggest accomplishment since your diagnosis?
I became a mother, the good old natural way.
What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed? What advice would you tell them to ignore?
Love heals...surround yourself with good people and positive mind & vibes ALWAYS because this shall pass.
And ignore stupid comments....”oh I knew someone who died from the same cancer you have....oh you don’t look sick are you sure you’re sick?”. Stay away from people like that.
How did your family and friends respond?
At first NO ONE believed me....plus I sent out the news in a text msg, and since I’m a joker, no one believed me.
From day one I was bombarded with love.
I had people praying for me in the middle of the night. People that didn’t even know me.
I had friends come with me to every chemo session.
People cleaned my house, made me food, dessert, paid for my nails.
So many things, that to this day I get emotional just thinking about it.
Since your diagnosis, what does it look like to you to “get back up”?
I tried going back to work right after my chemo was done, but that lasted a few weeks and they “let me go”
After that I took time to myself, to get that after chemo sensation out. I took 3 years off from everything 🤦🏼♀️
But since I’m the only person that I know who had colon cancer who gained weight during chemo, I slowly went back to working out and started eating healthier to try to loose all the weight that I had gained.
After the 3rd year I focused more on diet & working out. Years of struck diet and lots of gym time and I still didn’t lose all the weight I had gained during chemo, BUT they had turned into muscle! LOL. So my “get back up” was hitting the gym.
When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, what do you do?
Eat (LOL) then go to the gym.
(This is before I had a baby, now I just eat- lol).
What did you know about the type of cancer that you were diagnosed with prior to your diagnosis?
What do you now want people to be aware?
COLON CANCER is not an OLD MAN cancer.
Have you created any meaning out of this experience? If so, what was it/how did you do it?
From this experience and the love I got during this time, I created a project called LOVE HEALS and we hand out care packages to people who are going through cancer.
Since your diagnosis, what new belief, habit or behavior has most improved your quality of life?
I’m more positive and I try to have a different look in life. Stupid little things that drove me crazy before -I try not to let them bother me now...
Did you learn anything about yourself or your life? If so, what was it?
I’m stronger than I thought.
If you could write anything you wanted on a billboard in NYC’s Times Square that would reach millions of people, what would it read?