Lori Charney

Age: Adult
Association: Survivor
Region: Minnesota
Cancer: Colorectal Cancer

"Now I ask myself, What’s next? Good question, I have no idea. I have been given a second chance, maybe even a third or fourth chance. So, I’ll focus on being a good mother and friend as I figure it out."

Here’s me 4 years ago. It’s a picture of me celebrating the news from one of my life-saving doctors when he told me that “Since it’s been 5 years, we should start seeing other people”. This was his funny way of saying that after 5 years of being watched like a hawk under a microscope, I no longer have to visit him anymore, have my blood drawn, or scanned like a fax machine on a rigid timetable.

But, my story beings after I had over a year of treatment and surgery, that I was in remission and they didn’t have to see me for three months. Three months pass by and I go back in for a scan to get the report. This time, the oncologist didn’t call me so I was confident I was in the clear. As I listened to the doctor, He goes “I’m sorry, Lori, The small spots that we originally thought were benign and too small to biopsy are not Histoplasmosis.” My family insisted that I go to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion despite my objection, but I went anyway just to please them. When I was there a tall blonde German woman that saw me and looked at me in disbelief because she was surprised I was doing so well despite my diagnosis. In her thick German accent, she looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Do you want to live or do you want to die?” I don’t want any more drugs but I want to live. She then told me “Let’s wipe out any bad cells that could be lurking or surfacing.” I said if this will give me a better chance of seeing my children grow up, I’ll agree to more treatment in Minneapolis. I was determined not to be a statistic in a medical journal. It was another long ass year.

Now I ask myself, What’s next? Good question, I have no idea. Friends say that a stage IV diagnoses, divorce, and the loss of both parents is more than most people have in a lifetime, so take the time to heal. I have been given a second chance, maybe even a third or fourth chance. So, I’ll focus on being a good mother and friend as I figure it out.