“Cancer doesn’t make me a person. I was a person before cancer.”
Tina defines herself as a wife and devoted mother of a daughter, 22, and a son, 18. She has been actively involved in her son’s sports. She likes to read, and her husband likes to garden. Before her diagnosis, she was a workaholic at an architectural firm.
Tina’s diagnosis came in two stages. The first on July 22, 2011, when she found out she had a tumor the day of her colonoscopy, and then on Aug. 1, when her surgeon confirmed it was stage-4 colon cancer. It has since spread to her liver. Before then, she said that she’d been tired a lot and constantly felt bloated. And being so young, it never occurred to her that she would need to be screened for colon cancer at her age.
She relies on her faith and her family. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband and her kids. Her son, who likes to tease her, was disappointed that her hair didn’t fall out completely during treatment because he wanted to shave his head in support.
You have to “roll with it,” said Tina. You have to be positive about it. And you have to have a sense of humor in dealing with the other things that come with the disease, she explained.
Tina is very determined to make her son’s senior year about his senior year and not about his mother’s cancer. She doesn’t want it to be a pity party for her son because his mom has cancer, but she still needed answers so she could continue that focus. Tina explored treatment options at other, big-name cancer centers, but they could never answer her question as to what set their programs apart from ProMedica’s program. She decided to look at ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital—just a short drive from her home. She’s been happy with her oncologist ever since, and has learned to live for today.
Apart from joking to her husband now and then that she’s going to buy a new corvette off the lot, she finds much strength in her faith. She urges others to put their trust in God. To pray. And to be open to others about it. And if it’s a terminal diagnosis, to not dwell on it because you never know when the day will come.
“Believe in miracles. Be a miracle,” she said.
Update: We'd like to honor our friend Tina. Since her stage-4 colon cancer diagnosis in the summer of 2011, Tina has been more than a patient at Fostoria Community Hospital — she's been a friend and an advocate. Though she is no longer with us, this devoted wife and mother of two remains an inspiration to everyone who hears her story.