Alice O’Donnell – Colon Cancer
In the fall of 2022, Alice started noticing she was short of breath and just doing her normal, everyday things. Cleaning the house or taking a walk was harder all of a sudden. She would have to stop and rest.
Alice had been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse in the past and just assumed it was getting worse. But after the holidays, she decided it was time to see a doctor. They performed multiple blood tests that determined she had very low hemoglobin levels, which meant she was bleeding. She just didn’t know how or from where. She never noticed anything other than the unexplained fatigue.
Her son took her to the emergency room that day. After more tests, her stool tested positive for blood in a fecal occult blood test. That night, she had three blood transfusions. Alice returned to the hospital on January 2 of this year to have an upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, and CT scan. After the colonoscopy, the doctor told her he found a 5.5 cm cancer, which was ulcerated and bleeding. The CT scan corroborated the findings. Alice was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the colon that was eroding into the intestinal wall.
On January 30, she had surgery to remove her appendix, ascending colon, and half of her transverse colon. Her doctor also tested 32 lymph nodes in the area, and all tested negative for cancer. Afterward, she met with her oncology team and the oncologist recommended chemotherapy and referred her to Onco360 for her treatment plan.
She started her chemo treatment on February 27, has completed five cycles, and is in the middle of the sixth. She will be done on August 6. Alice said that “My medication deliveries arrive on time, and I’ve developed a friendship with my FedEx delivery person. I’m even able to ask for a specific date for deliveries when Onco360 calls for refills, which is helpful because I’ve been traveling. I remember before my first dose I was very concerned about the side effects and the pharmacist I spoke to was very reassuring. Onco360 has been a great help to me.”
Alice has a great support system. She has two grown sons, five grandchildren, and three sisters, and she is close with all of them. She also has a large circle of friends scattered about her city, Chicago, where she attended pharmacy school, and Wisconsin, her home state. Five of her closest friends have created “The Merry Widows Club.” The passing of their husbands has brought them together, and they support each other through thick and thin – especially during her treatment.
In her spare time, Alice enjoys gardening, bird watching, golf, driving her husband’s Corvette, and having fun with friends. In the colder months, you will find her warm and cozy watching her favorite TV show – MASH. She said that she has become more spiritual and she “talks to the good Lord every day.” The advice she would give to support a loved one who is going through cancer is, “just listen. Listen to whatever they have to say with no judgment. Just be understanding.”