Colon cancer survivor takes a path with hometown hero
Michele Alexander’s lady cavern contingency be seen to be believed. Rows of hats, jerseys and framed photos flourish a autographs of NASCAR greats such as Richard Petty, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace. Shelves arrangement a kaleidoscope of die-cast batch cars. Helmets, mottled flags and even physique panels salvaged from crashes have their place in a exhibit. A life-size card cutout of Alexander’s favorite star, Carl Edwards, stands proudly by a wall clinging wholly to him.
In all her years as a fan, Alexander never could have illusory a purpose a hometown favourite would play in a competition for her life.
On Mar 7, 2016, Alexander went to her alloy for a colonoscopy after seeing a change in bowel function. Her alloy found a tumor, and Alexander, afterwards 53 years old, was diagnosed with theatre 3 colon cancer.
According to a American Cancer Society, 1 in 23 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer — a No. 2 means of cancer-related deaths. The illness develops from aberrant growths called polyps in a colon and rectum over a march of 10 to 15 years. However, these polyps can be rescued and private around colonoscopy prolonged before they have a event to rise into cancer. For people with no personal or family story of colorectal cancer, a endorsed age to start slight screening is 50.
Alexander was referred to University of Missouri Health Care’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, where she met with surgical oncologist Zihao Wu, MD, who laid out a devise of conflict ¾ deviation and chemotherapy followed by surgery.
“I unequivocally wasn’t scared, though it was a unknown,” Alexander said. “My daughter’s 24. She’s still got a lot of life left. How most longer will we be with her? Those kinds of thoughts go by your head.”
Then another suspicion entered her head: There was a competition entrance adult during Bristol Motor Speedway. If Wu and his group could make her improved quickly, she’d be means to attend.
It wasn’t only any race. NASCAR was compelling an auction for a event to float in a lorry with Edwards during motorist introductions. Alexander was dynamic to win.
“She wanted to get better. She had a clever will to get better, and we consider that is really important,” Wu said.
That will grew even stronger after Alexander perceived a warn phone call.
As a member of a NASCAR Fan Council, Alexander mostly completes surveys about a NASCAR experience. In further to providing feedback online, she had indicated that she would be peaceful to finish phone surveys.
“Sure enough, my phone rings and we collect it adult and a chairman identifies himself as being from NASCAR and starts seeking me a few questions,” Alexander said.
At one point, a interviewer asked to endorse that her favorite motorist is Carl Edwards.
“He asked me a few some-more questions and afterwards got down to, ‘Would we know his voice? Would he know you?’ and finally we said, ‘Is this Carl?’ ”
It was indeed.
As a dual talked racing, Alexander mentioned her cancer diagnosis and her enterprise to win a auction and float with him during Bristol.
“He said, ‘Don’t bid. You get here. You’re roving with me,’ ” Alexander said.
With a group of doctors and nurses behind her, Alexander began her conflict with colon cancer in earnest. The medicine was successful, and 6 weeks after she took her float — a feat path in a truest clarity — with Edwards.
“Oh, it was only joy,” Alexander said, “Sheer joy. we won a competition for my life, and we crossed a finish line a winner.”
Two years after her diagnosis, Alexander is doing good and behind on track. She hopes her knowledge will enthuse others to report their screenings.