Dr. Thomson shares her different experiences with colorectal cancer.
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EmpowHer Will you share your experience with colorectal cancer? Dr. Cynthia Thompson, Ph.D., R.D. Associate Professor in Department of Nutritional Sciences My name is Cynthia Thompson and I’m a Registered Dietician with a Doctoral Degree in Nutritional Sciences and I currently work at the University of Arizona at the Department and Nutritional Sciences and at the Arizona Cancer Center. I have been doing cancer research for about 15 years now mostly in a survivor mode and about six years ago now I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and early stage and I remember at that time going. I think you got the wrong exam this was not the match. But I remember in my mind also going this is gastroenterologist who really knows what he’s doing. He has done thousands of colonoscopies, he knows what he’s looking at and we don’t necessarily need to wait for the pathology in terms of knowing that we thought of a situation we need to deal with. And I remember interestingly that there was a part of me, two things that really resonate with me six years later. One is that I thought, you know compared to everybody else in my family I am so health conscious, how come I got a cancer diagnosis. What fortuitous about this you know and my siblings would all tell you that. You know she’s exercises; she eats so healthy, she never smoked, very health conscious and get ended up in this situation. And there was a part of me at first who really wanted to rebel against doing anything healthy like healthy be damned because I was like I have always done this and why did I get cancer. But that only lasted about three days because quite honestly I can’t eat unhealthy and I can’t stop exercise. It’s just part of who I am. And so I kind of resolve the fact and how I came to resolve that was by saying, “You know what you were diagnosed at a young age but it could have been 10 years younger if you had not eaten healthy and you know you bought yourself a decade” and so in that way I felt really better about it. The other thing that I felt was interesting about my response to that disease was that I felt because I had stage one disease. I remember thinking, well I didn’t really have real cancer and I’m a person who works in cancer research but somehow I resolve the— you know I had really early stage disease and I felt really guilty about talking about or worrying about it too much because they are people who have real cancer who really are dealing with advance stage disease and I know them well and I worked with them and so for me there was a certain guilt in even worrying about the fact that I had a cancer diagnosis. So I just throw that out there because I know there are women with early stage disease who feel that way that you know and I need to just stuff this because there are people who have real— I know people their in my support groups their— you know I met them at the race for the cure. I know who they are and just realize that they do deserve to address this disease and they do deserve to spend time reflecting, spend time thinking about what lifestyle changes they can make and getting the support to make those lifestyle changes.