When I first met Britt I could tell right away that she was stronger than most people I know. Britt was given a diagnosis that would cause most humans to give up on life. Her strength, determination, and LOVE for living has been such an inspiration to so many. Britt has now undergone over 100 rounds of chemo, and her main goal in life remains to SURVIVE. She started a blog that shares her story and her words are incredible! To properly share her story, I have shared her diagnosis story from her blog –
“Always be kind to people, you never know what they are going through — even if they are dolled up, lookin’ healthy! One of the many lessons I’ve learned from this cancer journey.” – Britt
Words from Britt
The bends and curves in life seem to make for an interesting trail. The twist on my pathway happened to be a life-threatening illness, which was the furthest thing from the destination I had in mind. My name is Britt Ochoa and I was diagnosed five years ago with Stage IV colorectal cancer at the age of twenty-seven.
Looking back on the road I’ve traveled, I now see all of the red flags and warning signs that my body was trying to relay and I ignorantly ignored. I had gained a great deal of weight, was constantly tired and had unusual bowel movements, with blood in my stool. All things I convinced myself were “normal” as a twenty something that felt invincible and exempt from anything getting in the way of what life had to offer.
It wasn’t long after my first wedding anniversary that I began to have intolerable stomach pain and was taken to the Emergency Department. After being diagnosed twice; once being a urinary tract infection and the second visit resulting in a simple cyst on my ovary, hearing the news of both the diagnoses’ brought a sense of relief that it was nothing to be overly concerned about. A simple procedure would take place to remove the cyst and I’d be back on the straight and narrow. However, the day of the procedure and several hours later, I awoke to the news that changed my life forever. There was a football-sized tumor sitting on top of my colon, which had metastasized to my ovary. The Doctor’s were just as shocked as my loved ones, and myself, advising that if I had waited another month to seek medical attention I would have died.
Gratefully I just celebrated my five-year cancerversary, and although it has been a rocky road of multiple surgeries, 109 rounds of chemotherapy, 5 radiation treatments and now a clinical trial, it has also brought so many blessings into my life. I’ve learned not to sweat the small stuff, wake up every day and appreciate that I am fortunate to be here in the physical sense — seeing, feeling, loving, smelling, and breathing. It has also given me a greater sense of purpose, advocating and bringing awareness to fighting colorectal cancer, a disease I never imagined I’d have. Yet, I have met the most amazing people while fighting this disease, and became a part of a community I would have otherwise never been a part of. With that, myself and my colon cancer comrades will be going to Washington D.C. to Call on Congress, pushing for younger screening ages, as well as funds for colon cancer research and I can promise we won’t stop there.
The route may not have always been scenic over the course of the last five years — a bit bumpy to say the least, but taking care of my mind while going through all of the physical aspects of cancer has been my saving grace. I’m now able to focus on having a quality of life, and hopefully cruising down the highway to a life of health, happiness and wellness.
Special thanks to:
To read more about the Beauty in the Struggle series check out part 1