Terry's Story

Local Man Diagnosed with Colon Cancer Urges Others Not to Ignore Symptoms

Terry Wise

Even though his wife had her recommended colorectal cancer screening at University Hospitals, 53-year-old Terry Wise of Cleveland put his routine colonoscopy on the back burner. That was, until he noticed blood in his stool – at which point he scheduled his screening with UH gastroenterologist, Michael Koehler, MD.

Terry was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer after his colonoscopy in June 2012.

“The tumor was 4 by 3 centimeters, and Dr. Koehler told me I probably had it for years,” Terry said. “I met with the team of UH doctors, who told me I needed treatment right away. When I went for more in-depth testing, they found cancer cells in a lymph node on the outside wall of my colon.”

Treatment to Eradicate the Cancer

To shrink both the tumor and the lymph node, Terry underwent 25 radiation treatments over a five-week period, along with 35 days of chemotherapy, taking 10 pills each day. Terry has a very physically demanding job, but he was able to continue working almost the entire time, up until his fifth week of chemotherapy.

On October 15, 2012, Terry underwent a 5-hour surgery to remove the malignant tumor and stayed in the hospital two or three days. During the procedure, an ileostomy was performed, creating an opening to assist the body in getting rid of waste through the use of an ostomy bag.

Living with Cancer Treatment

After surgery, the oncologist added another round of chemo for 15 weeks. This time, Terry took eight pills a day with a 2-hour infusion every two weeks. Remarkably, Terry was able to continue to work during the all the cancer treatment and didn’t suffer some of the potential chemotherapy side effects such as hair loss.

“I had my labs checked and once the doctors found everything to be OK, they reversed my ileostomy bag,” Terry said.

Today, Terry is back to his normal active work pace and is feeling strong. He is trying to watch what he eats, and is spreading the word about screenings.

Listen to Your Doctor

Not one to miss an opportunity, Terry uses his colon cancer story to remind friends and family to go and get checked. “It’s always in the back of my mind,” he said. “Get your colonoscopy at 50, and if you have symptoms at any age, do not ignore them – see a doctor right away.”

Terry concurs that everyone should always listen to their doctors about screening tests – and men, particularly, should listen to their wives.

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