You can do one of two things: you can throw your hands up and say that’s it, or you can fight for your life.  I made the  choice to have a Colostomy.  My life has just begun.

It was a good trade. I had ignored daily rectal bleeding for two years, assuming only hemorrhoids, and refusing all medical examinations and procedures.  I did eventually succumb to a colonoscopy, and was diagnosed with Invasive Adenocarcinoma (Rectal Cancer), with prescribed treatment of Abdomino-Perineal Resection (surgery including a permanent colostomy).  At the age of 59, I had cancer and my life-expectancy was uncertain.

"Exactly 4 months after surgery, I was back playing hockey with the same tenacious grit as before."

Very early in my adventure, I resolved that “I will live.  After surgery I will do everything that I could do before surgery.” I was inspired by Rob Hill of IDEAS, who showed tremendous determination to recover from daunting medical challenges, climbed real mountains, and now works tirelessly giving-back by inspiring others to face their own challenges and move their own mountains.  Exactly 4 months after surgery, I was back playing hockey with the same tenacious grit as before.

My accomplishments

This gave me the freedom and attitude-adjustment to actually live and experience adventures that had been dormant on my bucket-list. I hiked the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island and Lake O’Hara in the Canadian Rockies.  I surfed and snorkeled in Mexico and Costa Rica.  I trekked 60 days in rugged Nepal and summited Island Peak in Nepal (6189m or 20,306ft).

My journey was certainly life-changing and in a good way.  I appreciate life more than before.  I have simplified life to do more of what I want to do, and less of what others think I am obligated to do.  When embarking on new life-experiences, or again experiencing treasured places or activities, I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity given to me.  A colostomy is not as good as the original equipment, but I get to live.  Living is everything.

Three years ago my doctor told me I could have a perfectly normal life with a colostomy. 

I didn’t believe him then.  I do believe him now.