My name is Millie McConnell and I am a 12 year stomach cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed Nov 15, 2001 with Stage 3B Signet Ring Stomach Cancer and told to “Put My Affairs In Order”!
The hospital had me on morphine – and had it on record prior to surgery I was very allergic to it. Following surgery I awoke vomiting most of the blood out of my body. This led to a blood transfusion to replace all the blood. (I’m looking into this to see if it could be the reason why I’ve survived and being so rare a survivor!!!)
My type of cancer at that time was ‘juvenile and aggressive”. They explained they had no idea how to even TREAT it – so put me on the second highest levels of Chemo and Radiation treatments – together.
Once the initial SHOCK hit, I slowly came to realize that it was all now ‘out of my hands’… At this point ~ I decided to LET GO and just follow the advice from Dr’s, Oncologists, Family, Friends etc. and just LIVE as best I could with joy for each day of life left.
What followed was a very aggressive treatment of Chemo and Radiation and through the entire experience I remained calm, and even cracked jokes to the medical community treating me and fellow patients and family. This seemed to ‘ease’ the experience more because I was not hanging on to the ‘negative’ emotions often coming with this experience.
It’s been a long journey. Five years following treatments I forced myself back to work (against my Dr’s orders) as an Admission Representative at a local Business College.
Lasting about 1.5 years my system completely CRASHED and Dr.’s told me I was done. Explaining to these Dr’s – “Never say you are DONE to a cancer survivor! I’m DONE in ‘this’ career ~ but starting another” …
Following this I joined Toastmasters International and began learning how to be an effective Public Speaker.
This has led me to so many more experiences and one is with another organization which flew me to Washington DC to help with going to Capitol Hill and pushing for Stomach Cancer to be raised on the list. I represented Canada and my ‘Pride’ knew no bounds! Meeting other survivors was inspiring and being the longest survivor there, I tried to help with questions and sharing of information to help everyone learn as much as possible about this deadly disease.
Now I may be asked to go on a local news station in another Province to tell my story and I’m hoping to begin a Canadian chapter for us all to GLOBALLY unite and learn together! My dream? TO ELIMINATE STOMACH CANCER BY RAISING IT TO THE TOP FOR MORE FUNDING – RESEARCH AND GRANTS
Thank you for letting me tell my story. I have a book almost completed in hopes of also inspiring others about to go this journey into fear and the unknown. “Believe in miracles ~ for they DO happen “Kindest regards,